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<f)> 00 ^ 

OU1 66993 


Call No."H J tf ff - /i Accession No. \ Ul e |6 

Author 5-nd ,' 

Title Rop> T r 

This book should be returned on or before the date last marked below. 











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Oxford Book and Stationery Company, Delhi* 
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Press, Rangoon. 

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N O T E 

The cost of this Committee, including the cost of printing 
the report, the appendices and the evidence which came to about 
Rs. 23,000, is estimated to have been Rs. 1,93,900. 



Resolution passed in the Council of State on 15th September 1927 . . . . xi 

Resolution of the Government of India, dated fth October 1927 . . . . . . xii 


1. The power of the cinema . . . , .. . , . . 1 

2. The cinema HS a recreation . , , . . , . . . . 1 

3. The object of censorship ... . . . . . . . , 1 

4. The cinema in education , . . . . . . . , . 2 

5. General effect . . . . , . . . . , . . 2 

6. Indian censorship , . .. .. .. . . .. ..2 

7. Criticisms of the Indian censorship in India and England . . 3 

8. Frees criticisms . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 

9. Questions in Parliament . . . . . . . . . . 4 

10. British Social Hygiene Delegation . . . . . . . . . . 4 

11. National Council of Women in Burma . . . . . . . . . . 6 

12. Other complaints . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 

13. DiscubsioiiR in the Council of State and questions in the Legislative 

Assembly . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 

H. Correspondence between the Government of India and Provincial Govern- 
ments . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . . 8 

15. Encouragement of the production and exhibition of Indian films . . . , 9 

16. Encouragement of British Empire films . . . . . . . . 9 

17. The debate in the Assembly on the resolution recommending the appointment 

of this Committee . . . , . . . . . . . . . . 10 

18. The debate m the Council of Stain . . ... . . . . . . 11 

19. Appointment and procedure of the Committee . . . . . . . . 18 

20. Number of witnesses, etc, .. .. ,. .. .. ..13 

21. General nature of the enquiry .. .. .. .. .. ..14 

22. The dearth of st a libtios and reliable information .. .. .. ..14 

23. Reasons for the luck of information . . . . . . . . . . 15 

24. Information regarding other countries .. .. .. .. ..15 

26. Lack of interest in the enquiry on the part of Provincial Governments . . 15 

26. Suspicion regarding the Committee , . . . . . . . . . 16 

27. Appointment of an enquiry opportune . . . . , . . . . . 16 

28. How our conclusions have been reached . . , . , . . . . . 17 

29. The scheme of the report , . . . . . . . . . , . 17 



30. Introductory .. .. .. ,. ., ., ,. .,18 


31 . The Indian " Territory " and " Key cities " 4 , , , . . . . 18 
'.82. The i number of cinemas . . . . ,. ., 18 

33 f Progressive in orease in Plumber of cinemas ,, .. ,, ,, lv 



84. Distribution .. .. .. .. t . 19 

36. The small number of cinemas in India . . . . . . . . . . 19 

36. The character of the cinema-houses , . . . . . . . . , 19 

37 Number of performances .. ., .. , . . . ..20 

38. Western and Indian cinemas] . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 

39. Circuits , . . , . . . . , . . . . . . . 20 

40. Composition of the audiences . . . . . . . , , . . . 21 

41. The types of Western films which are popular .. .. . . ..21 

42. The types of Indian films which are popular . . . . . . 22 

43. The relative popularity of Indian and Western films . . . . . , 22 

44. Change of taste . . . . . , . . . , , , , . 23 

46. Indian films more profitable than Western films . . . . . . . . 23 

46, The financial aspects . . . . . . . , . . . . . 24 

4? , Travelling cinemas . . . . . , . . . . . , . . 24 

48, News and topical films , . .. ,. ., .. ..26 


49. Distribution of imported films .. . .. .. .. ..26 

60. Distribution of Indian films . . . . ., , , . . . . . 26 

61. Percentage and fixed hire systems .. .. .. .. ..26 

62. Distribution unorganised . . . , . . . . , . . . 27 

63. Meaning of block and blind booking .. .. ., .. ..27 

64. Block and blind booking as regards imported films . . . , . . 28 
56. Block and blind booking as regards Indian films . . . . . . . . 28 

66. Trade-showing , . ., .. .. ., ,.29 


67. The amount of Indian production ., ,. ,, . . ..29 

68. The proportion'of Indian films ,, , . ., ,, ..29 
H9. Progressive increase of Indian production and of imported films . . . . 30 

60. Early days of Indian production .. .. .. .. ..31 

61. Number and distribution of producing companies .. .. ..31 

62. The character of producing companies . . . . . . . . . . 31 

63. Lack of organisation and information . , . . . . . . . . 32 

64. The studios and their equipment . , . . . . . . . . 32 

65. Direction and technical staff . . . . . . , . . . . , 33 

66. Actors and actresses . . . , . . . . . . . . 33 

67. Scenarios .. ,. .. .. .. .. .. ..34 

68. The types of films produced . . . . . . . . . , , . 84 

69. The quality of the pictures .. .. .. .. .. ..36 

70. Output . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . 36 

71. Prints . . . . <. . . . . . . . . , . . 36 

72. Financial aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . , . 36 

73. Concerns which have failed . . . . ^ . . . . . . . 37 

74. Production of Indian films is profitable ^ . , , . . . . . 37 
76. News arid topical films . , . . . . . . . . . . 37 

76. Conditions favourable and unfavourable . . . . . , , . 38 

77. Climatic and other favourable conditions . . . . . . . . 38 

7$, The limited market (small number of cinema houses available) , , . , 3? 




79. A further limitation (provincial differences) . , . . . . . . 40 

80. Another limitation , , .. .. .. .. .. ..40 

81. The difficulty in regard to " historical " films . . . . . . . . 40 

82. Special difficulties as regards Muslims .. .. . , ,.41 

83. General limitation . . . . . . . . . , . . . . 41 

84. The language difficulty . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 

85. The difficulty of obtaining actresses . . . , . . . . . . 42 

86. Financial difficulty .. .. .. .. .. .. ,.42 

87. Foreign market .. .. .. ,. .. .. ,.42 

88. Complaints regarding Madnn's alleged monopoly .. .. .,43 

89. that they have a monopoly of the supply of pictures . . , . . . 43 

90. that they are acquiring monopoly of exhibition in " key " cities . . 44 

91. that they a re injuring the Indian producer .. ,, .. ..44 

92. that they adopt unfair methods of competition . . . . . . 46 

93- Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 

9 1. Exhibition .. .. ., .. .. ,, ..45 

95. Travelling cinemas .. .. .. .. .. ,.46 

96. _ Distribution .. ., .. ., .. .. . . 4 

97. Production ., ,. ,. ,. .. ,, ..46 

U8. The necessity for a central organisation 
99. Lack of statistical and other materials . . 
_J00. The need for films with a national or general appeal 
101. The need for foreign expert assistance 
102 An iiidependerit agency required 
103. A Government of India agency 
10t Technical and business advice .. 
105. Technical experts 
108. An Advisory Committee 

107. Composition and personnel of Advisory Committee 

108. Studio and laboratory 

109. The Secretary 

110. A film library 

111. Publicity 

112. Registration 

113. Award of prizes for meritorious films and scenarios 

114. Status of Central Cinema Bureau 

116. Contributions from Centra] and Provincial Government* . . 

116. Cess on imported films 

117. Estimate of cost 

118. The Bureau should be attached to the Commerce Department 
11:9 Summary of functions of Committee arid Bureau 

J20. Genera] advantages , , , , 




























121. The beneficial influence of the cinema . . . . . . .. . . 58 

122. Present inefficiency and future potentialities . . .. .. ..58 

123. The cinema has come to stay . . . , . . . . . . . . 58 

124. The present opportunity . . . . . . . . , . . . 59 

125. The industry is progressing only in certain places . . .. ..59 

126. The necessity for guidance and encouragement . . . . . . . . 60 

127. The progress made is insufficient . . . . . . . . . . 60 

128. The financial difficulty . . . , . . . . . . . . 60 

129. National ideas ,. .. .. ,. .. .. ..61 

The main proposals. 

130. Measures of encouragement which have heen proposed . . . . . . 62 

131. Recommendation of loans to producers . . . . . . . . . . 62 

132. Loans required in the initial stages . . , . . . . . . . 63 

133. The justification for Government loans .. .. .. ., .'.64 

134. Extent and duration of financial aid . . . . . . . . . . 64 

135. Necessity for more cinemas . . . . , . . , . . . . 65 

136. Poor equipment of cinemas . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 

137. Circuits showing Western films . . . . . . . . . . 66 

138. Discussion of the proposal for a quota . . . . . . . . . . 67 

139. Better distribution of Indian films, and encouragement of travelling cinemas. 68 

140. Encouragement of the building of more cineiius and of the use of halls . . 68 

141. The me, ins to this end Loans for building cinemas . . . . 69 
142 Recommendation of increased use of h, ills by travelling cinemas . . . . 69 

143. Exhibition of educational films .. .. .. ., ..69 

144. Cultivation of a taste for Indian films . . . . . . . . . . 70 

145. Recommendation of a qualified quota system , . . . . . . . 70 

146. Reasons for imposing a quota .. .. .. .. .. ..71 

147. Objection to compulsion in regard to amusements . . . . . . 71 

148. The difficulty of compulsion for all theatres- -Transferable quota . . . . 72 

149. The objection regarding mushroom concerns and production of inferior 

films . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . 72 

150. Competition of cheap foreign films .. ,, ,*. .. ..72 

151. Participation of non- Indian films in the quota .. .. .. ..72 

Certain other measures for assisting the industry. 

152. Modifications of the tariff ., .. .. .. .. -.72 

153. Assessment on a tariff valuation inevitable ., ,. ,, ..73 

154. Recommendation regarding positives printed abroad . . . . 73 

155. Increase of duty on imported films as a protective measure not recommended . . 7i 

156. Recommendation of abolition of duties on raw films . . . . ,,75 

157. Machinery and chemicals . . .. ., .. .. ..75 

158. Recommendation of rebate on educational films . , . . . . . . 76 

159. Drawback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 

ICO. Import of cheap and second-hand films . . . . . , . . . . 76 

J61. Duplicate copies .. .. ,, ,, ., ^ ..76 



162, Kecommendation of annual competitions . . . . . . . . 76 

193. Increased use of the cinema by Government departments . . . . . . 77 

1 6 4, Keooimnendati on regarding scholarships .. .. .. ..77 

166. Government Studio . , . . .. . . . . . . . 77 

166. lleeoimnendation of a developing and printing laboratory . . . , 78 

167. Classes for training .. .. .. .. .. .. ..78 

168. Facilities and concessions . . . . . . . . . . 70 

169. Recommendations regarding registration and returns . . . , . . 79 

170. The danger of non* Indian control of the trade and industry . . ..80 

171. Registration compulsory for production, exhibition, etc , . .. ..80 

172. Provision for foreign assistance . . . . . . . . . , 81 

175. Misrepresentation of Indians in films exhibited abroad ..81 

Certain difficulties and defect* of production. 

174. Actors and actresses .. .. .. .. .. .. ..81 

' 175. Scenarios and titles RecommendHtions of examination of scenarios and 

competitions . . . . . , . , . . . . , t 82 

176 Imitation of the West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 

177. Co-operation of the educated classes .. ,. .. .. ..83 

178. Muslim tastes .. .. .. .. .. .. ..83 

179. The language difficulty and provincial differences .. .. ..83 

180. Demonstrators .. .. .. .. .. .. ..83 

181. Communal susceptibilities .. .. ., .. .. ..84 

182. Publicity .. .. .. .. ,. .. .. ..84 

183. Historical books of reference . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 

Distribution and Exhibition. 

184. The independent exhibitor , . , . . . . . , , . , 84 

185. Piracy of films .. .. .. .. ., .. ..85 

186. Free passes .. ,. .. .. .. .. .. ..85 

187. Entertainments tax , . , . . . . . . . . . . , 86 

188. Travelling cinemas Kecommendation regarding licenses .. .. ..86 

The Foreign Market. 

189. Countries with an Indian population . . . . . , . . . . 87 

190. Films of universal appeal ,, .. .. . . .. ..87 

191. " The Light of Asia" .. ., .. ., .. ..88 

192. Combination of Western and Indian enterprise .. , . . . ..88 

193. The wrong kind of combination . . . . . . . . . , 89 

194. Keatrictions on non- Indian enterprises . , , , . , . . . 89 

195. "Bhiraz" 89 

General conclusion** 

196. Hie industry should receive liberal and sympathetic treatment from 

Government ,. .. .. .. ., .. ..90 

197. Preservation bf national ideas . . , , . . . . , . . . 90 

198. Change of customs and tastes .. ., .. .. .. ,.91 

199. The influence on the rising generation.. .. .. .. .,91 

The scheme for quota . . . . . , . , , . , , 91 




200. The importance of the subject . . . . . . , . , . . . 94 

201. General considerations . . . . . . , . . . . 94 

J&02. Use of films in schools and colleges . . . . . . . . . . 94 

,203. The cinema in mass adult education .. .. .. , , ..95 

20k Necessity for action by Government and the public . . . . . . 96 

205. The need for concerted action . . . . , . . . . . . . 96 

206. Benefits of such action . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 

207. The value of the film for mass education, especially in India, is indisputable. 98 

208. Compulsory exhibition of educational films . . . . . . . . 98 

209. Oth'ir modes of exhibition ., .. .. .. .. ..98 



210. The Resolution of the Imperial Conference . . . . . . . . 99 

211. Circumstances peculiar to India . . . . . . , . . . 99 

i. Racial differences . . . . . . . . . , . . 99 

212. ii. Necessity of encouraging the Indian film industry .. . . ,. 100 

213. iii. Lack of appeal of Indian films outside India ., ., .. 100 

214. iv. Competitive inferiority .. ,. .. . . .. .. loo 

216. v. Economic condition .. .. .. . , , ,, loo 

216. vi. Imperial Preference a large and complicated question .. .. 101 

217. Preference unnecessary .. .. .. .. .. .. 101 

218. Why more British films are not imported . . .. ., .. 102 

219. The danger of estranging foreign countries . . , , . . . . 102 

220. Sufficient contact with British ideas .. .. .. ., .,303 

221. Films of educational value .. ,, t , ,, .. .. 103 

222. Mutual arrangements for exchange . . . , . . . , . , 104 


223. The need for censorship . .. .. tl tt tt 105 

224. Statutory basis of the censorship . . . . , . , . . . 105 

225. Certification of films . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 

226. Appeals .. .. .. .. .. .. ., .. 105 

227. Validity of certification . . . . . . . . , . . . 106 

228. Constitution of Boards . . . . . , . . . . . . 106 

Bombay . , . . . . . . , . , , . . . . 106 

229. Bengal .. ., .. .. .. .. ., ..107 

230. Rangoon . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . 107 

231. Madras . . . , . . . . . , . . . , , . 107 

232. Punjab .. *. .. .. .. .. .. ..107 

233. Statutory Kules .. .. .. ., .. .. .,107 



234. Certification procedure .. .. .. .. .. .. 107 

-Bombay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 

235. Bengal . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . log 

236. ' Burma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . t . log 

237. Madras . . . . . . . . , . . . , . . . log 

238 Punjab . .. .. .. .. .. .. ..108 

239. Varying volume of work . . . . . . . . . . . . log 

240. Effect on procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 

241 Criticism of the cinema and of the Censorship General .. .. .. 109 

242. Cinema 'Misrepresentation' .. .. .. .. .. .. Ho 

243. No resulting demoralization . . . . . . . . . . . . Hi 

241. Effect on crime negligible .. .. .. . . .. ,. 113 

245. The genesis of criticism . . . . . . , . . , . . 114 

246. Scenes of passion, eto. .. , , .. .. , . .. ,, 114 

247. Trade propaganda and rivalry ., .. .. .. .. ., 116 

248. The Social Hygiene Council's ill-informed criticism .. .. .. 116 

249. Posters and advertisements . . .. .. .. .. .. H8 

250. Circulation of old and inferior films .. .. .. .. .. 118 

251. Undue sensitiveness . . . . . . . . . . . , . . 119 

252. Moral standards of existing Board identical . . . . . . . . 120 

253. The ideal A Central Board of Censors .. .. .. .. .. 121 

251. Our scheme for modified centralization a Central Board at Bombay . . 122 

205. Deputy Censor at Calcutta Provincial Boards for indigenous films at Cal- 
cutta andjRarigoon, and special arrangements for topicals . . . . 123 

256. Functions of Deputy Censor .. .. .. ,. .. .. 125 

257. Central Board to visit Calcutta .. .. .. .. .. 125 

258. Validity of certificates .. .. .. .. .. .. 126 

259. Public utility films . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 

260. Appeals .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 126 

261. Provincial Government's rights safeguarded . . . . . . . . 127 

262. Central Board General control . . . . . . . . . . 127 

263. Advantages of the scheme .. .. .. .. .. .. 128 

264. Financing of the scheme .. .. , , .. .. .. 129 

265. Children ;m<l the Cinema .. .. .. .. .. .. J30 



266. Tampering with certified films .. .. .. .. ..HI 

267. Preventive censorship methods .. ,, .. .. .. ul 

268. Penal ssction inadequa 4 e . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 52 

269. Civil administration's luiietioiis of control .. .. .. .. 133 

270. Co-operation of the public .. ., .. .. .. ..131 

271. Obscene films . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134 

272. Provincial Advisory Boards . . . . . . . . . . . . 134 

273. Military needs . . . . . , . . . . . . .134 

274. The Indian soldier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 

275. Cantonment monopolies ., .. .. .. .. ,. 135 

276. Historical and archaeological information . . . . . . . . 136 

277. The position of Indian States . . . . . . , , . . . . 136 

278. Drafting defects in the present Act . . . . . . . . . . 136 

279. The bar in the cinemas . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 

280. Smoking .. ., ,, ., ,, ,, ,, ,.137 






281. Summary .. .. .. .. ..138 

282. The directions in which legislative action will be required . . . . 157 

283, Financial results . . . . . , . . . , , . , , 108 


284. Repetition .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..159 

285, Official and non-official response - 159 

286, Acknowledgments , , . . , . , . . . , . . . 160 





1. Number of cinema-houses in existence in the different provinces in each year 

from 1921 to 1927 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 

2. Number of cinemas in the Provincial Capitals .. .. .. .. 180 

3 Total seating accommodation in permanent cinemas . . . , . . 180 

4. Kumber of towns in India with a population of (1) over 20,000, (2) over 

10,000 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..181 

f> Number of cinemas showing exclusively imported films . . . . . . 181 

6. Number of travelling cinemas in ihe different provinces . . . . . . 182 

7. Number of licences issued to travelling cinemas in the different provinces in 

each year from 1921 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 

8. Number and footage of films examined by each Board in each year from 1921 

onwards .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 183 

9. Analysis of Ihe films examined, showing the percentage of Indian footage to 

the total footage examined by the Boards in India (excluding Burma) in 
each of the years from 1921 onwards . . . . . . . . . . 18 1 

10. Percentage of Burmese footage to the total footage examined in. Burma . . 187 

11. Abstract showing percentage of Indian to total footage examined in India, 

including and excluding Burma . . . . . . .". . . 188 * 

12. Number, footace and percentage of Indian feature films examined by the 

Boards (excluding Burma) in each year, with averages . . . , . . 189 

13. Annual importation of cinema films into India . . . . . . . . 190 

11, Percentage of British and other Non-American footage to total imported footage 
examined by the Boards . . . . . . . . . . tt .- 191 

16. Output of British films and the extent to which they are exhibitel in India 

and throughout the Empire , . , . . . . . . . tt 192 

16. Work involved in the censoring of films for the year 1926-27 . . . . 191 

17. Income of the Boards for 1926-27 ,. ,. .. .. ..195 

18. Number and footage of films examined by members of the Boards from 1924- 

25 to 1927-28 195 

19. Number of appeals from decisions of the Boards to Provincial Governments 

under section 7 (3) of the Cinematograph Act, from 1924-26 to 1927-28 . . 196 

20. Certificates suspended by the Boards under section 7 (4) of the Cinematograph 

Act from 1924-26 to 1927-28 .. .... .. ..196 

21. Number of films declared uncertified, by each Provincial Government under 

sub-sections 6 and 7 of section 7 of the Cinematograph Act from 1924-26 to 
1927-28 r 197 

2?. I4st of producing concerns in India and Burma . , , , , , , , 198 




-A . Chairman's opening speech and circular letter .. ., ,, 201 

B. Questionnaire .. .. .. ., .. .. .. 203 

C. Questionnaire to Boards .. .. . .* .. .. .. 207 

'W. Questionnaire to producing concerns, with covering letter . . . . 208 

E. (1) List of producing concerns visited . . . . . . . . 209 

(2) ,, cinemas visited and films seen . . . . . . . . 209 

(3) ,, banned films seen .. .. .. .. .. .. 210 

F. Tables prepared by Mr, A. M. Green, I.C.S., from which the approximate 

imports of (a) exposed arid (b) raw films can be deduced for the years 1922- 

23 to 1926-2? .. .. .. .. .. .. ..211 

0. Bombay Board's " Suggestions to Inspectors " . . . . . . 211: 

H. Chairman's Note on Copyright in cinema films and Piracy . . . . 216 

J. Sir John Marshall's letter regarding preparation of ;u oh geological and 

historical monographs for Aim production . . . . . . . . 221 

J. Kepori from the Director of the Canadian (Government Motion Picture 

Bureau legarding the work of the Bureau , . . . . . . 222 

K. List of tables, abstracts of evidence, etc., piepared at Madras during the 

adjournment of the Committee . . . . . . . . . . 226 

L. Some figures of receipts from Indian and non-Indian films in Bombay . . 226 

NOTE. The evidence recorded by the Committee is published separately in foul 
volumes. Miscellaneous papers are printed in Volume IV. 


Council recommends to the Grovernor-Greneral in Council that 
he be pleased to appoint a Committee to examine and repoi't on the 
system of censorship of cinematograph .films in India and to consider 
whether it is desirable that any steps should be taken to encourage the 
exhibition of films produced within the British Empire generally and 
the production and exhibition of Indian films in particular. 


The question of the adequacy of the censorship exercised over 
cinematograph films in India has been attracting for some time past 
increasing public attention and has more than once been brought to 
the notice of the Government of India by resolutions in the Indian 
Legislature. The Government of India came to the conclusion that the 
subject was one of sufficient importance and complexity to demand a 
thorough enquiry by a special committee, which will take evidence 
and obtain opinions from all parts of India. At the same time the 
question had been raised by a resolution of the Imperial Conference 
of 1926 whether the various parts of the Empire could take any steps 
to encourage the exhibition of Empire films. As all Governments of 
the Empire have been invited to consider this question, it appeared to 
the Government of India that it would be appropriate that it should be 
examined by the proposed Committee. This extension of the scope of 
the Committee's enquiry would also enahlc it to address itself to a ques- 
tion which may have a far-reaching influence on the development of the 
cinematograph in India, namely, the possibility of encouraging the 
production and exhibition of Indian films. 

2. A resolution embodying these proposals was moved on behalf of 
Government during the last session in both Houses of the Legislature 1 . 
The resolution was passed without dissent in the Council of State, while 
in the Legislative Assembly the discussion was adjourned on the 
understanding that Government would be free to proceed with their 

3. Accordingly the Governor- General in Council has decided to 
appoint a Committee which will start work at an early date. The terms 
of reference will be as follows : 

(1) to examine the organisation and the principles and methods of 

the censorship of cinematograph films in India ; 

(2) to survey the organisation for the exhibition of cinematograph 

films and the film-producing industry in India ; 

(3) to consider whether it is desirable that steps should be taken to 

encourage the exhibition of films produced within the 
British Empire generally and the production and exhibition 
of Indian films in particular; and to make recommen- 

4. The Committee will be composed as follows : 


1. Diwan Bahadur T. Rangaohariar, C.I.E., Vakil, High Court, 



2. The Hon'ble Khan Bahadur Sir Ebrahim Haroou Jaffer, Kt. 

3. Colonel J. D. Crawford, D.S.O., M.C., M.L.A. 

4. Mr. K. C. Neogy, M.L.A,, Vakil, High Court, Calcutta, 

6. Mr. A, M. Green, I.C.8., Collector of Customs and Member of 

Bombay Board of Film Censors. 

6. Mr. J. Coatman, M.L.A., Director of Public Information. 
Mr. G, GK Hooper, M.O., I.O.S., will act as Secretary to the 



5. The Committee will visit important centres, and will take 
evidence on the questions stated in the terms of reference. Persons who 
desire to be called as witnesses should apply in writing to the Secretary, 
care of Home Department, Government of India, Simla, giving their 
full names and addresses together with a brief memorandum of the 
points in regard to which they desire to give evidence. It will of course 
rest with the Committee to decide what evidence they will hear. 


Secretary to the Govt. o/ India. 



X. The great potentialities of the cinematograph for good 
and for evil are generally recognised. The 
The power of the extraordinary increase in recent years in 
cinema. ^ e nuin | 3er o f cinema-houses throughout 

the world has resulted in special attention being devoted in many 
countries to the subject of the cinematograph and its effects. 
On the one hand, it has been found necessary in most countries 
to institute some form of censorship in order to control and, as 
far as possible, to eradicate the evil effects of the cinema; on the 
other hand, enquiries have been made for the purpose of ascer- 
taining how far and by what means the cinema can be utilised as 
a medium of enlightenment and -education. 

2. primarily the cinema is an instrument of recreation. It 

affords the cheapesfancT most popular form 

The cinema as a re- o f entertainment to the mass of the people, 
creation. T , . -, . , ,, f ,, r 

It is a well recognized maxim that there 

should be as little interference as possible with the recreations of 
the people. But in this respect some differentiation has been made 
in the majority of countries between the cinema and other forms 
of entertainment, such as the stage. There are two reasons .for 
this differential treatment of the cinema. One reason is that 
the cinema appeals to a much wider audience. The number of 
persons who witness a successful play is infinitesimal compared 
with the vast numbers who witness a successful film. The second 
reason is that the film has a special and peculiar appeal. It has 
to achieve its effect visually, without the aid of the spoken word. 
The result is an exaggeration of physical expression and sug- 
gestive action. Every device is employed in order to intensify 
the visual impression, such as the well-known device of the 
"close-up", .and thus a peculiarly direct and vivid impression is 
produced upon the mind of the spectator?) 

3. The object of censorship is strictly limited, namely, to 

preclude that which is definitely undesir- 

The object of cen- ^\ e or unsuitable for public exhibition. 
sors lp * . Rules and principles may be laid down for 

the guidance of the censor, but it is in the application of these 
rules and principles to particular cases that the difficulty arises; 
and therefore much must be left to the discretion of the Censor. 
Ultimately, the criterion to be adopted by the censor ipnst be 
based on what he conceives to be the enlightened public opinion 
on the subject. He is the interpreter of public opinion, and ul- 
timately his decisions derive their sanction from public opinion. 
It is arguable, and it has been argued before us, that censor- 
ship is unnecessary and that it should be left to public opinion 
to decide what is suitable or unsuitable. -Without entering into 

the merits of this argument as a general proposition, we may say 
that, as far as India is concerned, public opinion is not sufficiently 
organised or articulate to make it possible to dispense with cen- 
sorship. On the other hand, it has been proposed in some quarters 
that the scope of censorship should be extended and that films 
should be censored not only on moral and social grounds but on 
artistic grounds as well; and that films which do not come up 
to the required standard of artistic excellence should be debarred 
from exhibition. We are aware that such a practice is in vogue 
in certain countries, but we do not consider that it is either prac- 
ticable or justifiable to make one man or one body of men the 
arbiter of taste for a whole population, nor is it desirable in 
the present condition of the trade in this country. 

4. (jn its aspect as an instrument of education the cinema has 

been the subject of various national and 
The cinema in edu- international conferences, and has en- 
ca lon * g a g e( l the attention of the League of Nations. 

It can be used educationally, in the limited sense of the word, 
as a mode of supplemental instruction in schools and colleges, 
and for illustrating certain technical and scientific processes. It 
has, however, a special value as a medium of education in the 
wider sense; for the purpose of propagating ideas or information 
among the masses on such subjects as public health, hygiene, 
improved agricultural methods, civics and a variety of other 
matters. And in this connection it has a special interest for India 
with her vast illiterate population .") 

5. The general effect of the cinema upon the people must vary 

in different countries according to the class 
General effect. of filmg generallv shown and the conditions 

of the country. We are concerned with the effect on the people 
of India. In India the problem is one of peculiar complexity owing 
mainly to the fact that the majority of the films exhibited are 
produced in the West and portray an entirely alien civilisation. 
There is the danger of Westernisation, of denationalisation the 
ancient problem of new wine in old bottles. In the forefront of 
our report, however, we desire to place on record our unanimous 
conviction that the general effect of the Western films in India 
is not evil, but, on, the whole, is good. India is essentially a 
conservative country, possibly an ultra-conservative country. We 
are satisfied that the Western films, in spite of their defects, have 
an educational value for the people of India. They tend to open 
the eyes of the uneducated to other and more advanced conditions 
of life and to give them some idea, however imperfect, of condi- 
tions in other countries; they tend to broaden their minds and 
widen their outlook. 

6. The present system of censorship in India was introduced 
Indian censorship. J? the Indian Cinematograph Act 1918 

Previously there had been some form of 
sensorship by voluntary Boards regarding which little information 

is available. Under the Act, which was subsequently amended in 
various particulars, no film can be exhibited unless it has received 
a certificate from one of the Boards of Censors. In 1920 Boards 
of Censors were established in Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and 
Rangoon. These Boards are each empowered to grant a certificate 
valid for the whole of India, but any Provincial Government can 
uncertify a film which it deems unsuitable for public exhibition 
in such Province. 

7. Film censorship in India has been the subject of a certain 

amount of discussion both in India and in 
Criticisms of the England for several years. In 1921 Mr. W. 

J^?BSKd. m E ^ s > a ci ei a * x P ert > br S ht out ^ tho 
Government of India to make a survey of the 

cinema industry in this country, stated in his report that the exist- 
ing Boards of Censors were "weak and inexperienced " and sug- 
gested that the Government of India should urge the Provincial 
Governments to "stiffen up, and raise to reasonable efficiency, the 
present censorship, which is- largely nominal. " The Advisory 
Publicity Committee who considered Mr. Evans' report recom- 
mended " that the local Governments should be asked to stiffen up 
their control in censoring films for exhibition in India." 

This led to a re-examination of the subject by the Government 
of India in correspondence with the Provincial Governments. 

8. Letters and articles have appeared from time to time in the 

^ ... British Press* asseverating that much harm 

Press criticisms. i i T i- -L ru 'j j 

was being done in India by the widespread 

exhibition of Western films. We have seen several of these 
Press comments from 1923 onwards. The general trend of them 
is that, owing to difference of customs and outlook, Western films 
are misunderstood and tend to discredit Western civilisation in 
the eyes of the masses in India. Such criticism was chiefly directed 
against " cheap American films." To give an example of this sort 
of criticism, a well-known Bishop intimately acquainted with India 
stated (as reported in the Press) in a speech at a conference in 
England in 1925: 

"The majority of the films, which are chiefly from America, 
are of sensational and daring murders, crimes, and divorces, and, 
on the whole, degrade the white women in the eyes of the Indians." 

We have also seen other complaints and communications of a 
similar nature which came to the notice of Government. 

This- view did not, however, go altogether unchallenged. Thus, 
on the 21st April 1926 there appeared in the Times of India an 
article commenting on a, representation made by the Federation of 
British Industries to the Board of Trade regarding the practical 
monopoly enjoyed by American films, in which the Federation 
were reported to have said that those pictures were "detrimental 
to British prestige and prejudicial to the interests of the Empire, 
especially in the Dominions which contain large coloured popu- 
lations." This idea was ridiculed by the Times of India. The 

Indian Daily Mail on the 22ud April 1926 animadverted on the 
same theme. 

9. Some questions also were asked in Parliament regarding the 

censorship in India. Thus on the 9th Novem- 

Questions in Parlia- her 1921, Sir C. Yate asked the Secretary of 

ment ' State for India what had been the result of 

the establishment of censorship of cinema films in India, who were 

the cens-ors, and what had they done. 

In his reply Mr. Montagu, after referring to the Boards, 
stated: " I have not received any reports as to their work. But 
I understand that the Government of India has recently had its 
attention drawn to the matter and suggestions have been made to 
it for making the censorship in each place more efficient/' 

Again on the llth July 1927 Lieutenant-Colonel Howard-Bury 
asked the Under Secretary of State for India "whether his atten- 
tion has been drawn to the nature of certain American films that 
are being shown in India; and whether he can state what steps are 
being taken to prevent such films being shown." The reply 
was as follows: "The Government of India were asked by a des- 
patch, dated 31st March last, to give their attention to the whole 
question of the censorship of films shown in India and particularly 
to the question of the suitability or uns-uitability of films of 
Western, especially of American, production for exhibition in 
India. The Government of India's reply is awaited; and I have 
no information as to what steps have as yet been taken to strengthen 
the existing system of censorship. " 

The following supplementary questions and answers then en- 
sued : 

Lieutenant-Colonel Howard-Bury: "Is the Noble Lord aware 
that public opinion is very seriously disturbed in India over the 
harm which is done by these undesirable films ?" 

Earl Winterton: "Yes-, but that disturbance is not greater 
tl^an the disturbance caused in this country. The problem is an 
exceedingly difficult one, and it is to find an efficient form of 
censorship for films. " 

Colonel Day: "Is the Noble Lord aware that the last film 
banned was a British film and not an American film?" 

Earl Winterton: "I do not know that, but, at any rate, it 
was an undesirable film." 

10. The British Social Hygiene Delegation visited India in 
British Social *^ e co ^ wea *^ er f 1926-27 and among other 

Hygiene Delegation. drastic criticisms of the films exhibited in 
India which appear in their memorandum 
on the cinema, there occurs the following: 

"In every province that we visited the evil influence of the 
cinema was cited by educationists and the representative citizens 

&d one of the major factors in lowering the standard of sex conduct, 
and thereby tending to increase the dissemination of disease/' 

The memorandum was not senl out until July 1927 but similar 
statements hacTbeen made in speeches by at least one member of 
the Delegation before they left India. 

11. About the same time the National Council of Women in 

Burma, as the result of a memorial drawn 
National Council of up by the Rangoon Vigilance Society, 
omen in urma. appointed a sub-committee to conduct an 

enquiry into the standard of films shown in Burma. In their 
report (21st July 1927) in which they treat the whole subject of 
censorship, they state: "The majority of films shown are actually 
those shown in Western countries but the general standard is 
lower here, because a smaller proportion of really good films is 
imported. Owing to the different standards of behaviour many 
films which would be harmless in the West are definitely pernicious 
here." Again, they say: "It is desirable and necessary to ban 
the numerous pictures in which sex is treated with vulgarity and 
the physical side of it over-emphasised." They refer also to 
"crime" films, the effect of the cinema on children, and other 

We shall deal in more detail, under the liead of Censorship, 
with the nature of the criticisms made. We have merely referred 
here to these instances to give an idea of the sort of complaints 
which were being made from time to time. 

12. It may be added that there were also sporadic complaints 

^, , . from the Trade of over-strictness on the part 

Other complaints. p 1 r\ .. 11 

ot tne censors. Criticisms were also made 

of the method of inspection adopted by some Boards, and of the 
whole system under which a film passed in one province might 
be banned in another. 

13. The question has been discussed on two occasions in the 
Discussions in th Council of State. On the 22nd January 

JL/lSL-UOaiUIliS 111 tilt? i nm~ , -i -r-r i 1 % f / t~* t^il 1 V 

Council of State and 1925 the Hon ble Mr. (now Sir Lbrahim) 
questions m the Haroon Jaffer moved the following resolu- 
Legislative Assembly. tion * 

"That this Council recommends to the Governor-General 
in Council that in place of the various existing Provincial Boards 
a single salaried Board be appointed for the whole of India to 
regulate the import into India of cinema films and to exercise a 
stricter control over cinemas generally." 

In the course of his opening speech he stated: "I have conie 
to the conclusion that some such action as is suggested in this 
resolution should be taken in view of the altogether erroneous 
impression made on the Indian mind of the social life of England, 
America and other Western lands by many of the cinema films 
permitted to be shown throughout India, an impression which 
ia decidedly inimical to the interests of the country in general." 
Again he said: "A picture which would be perfectly harmless 


in Europe where all the circumstances would be understood and 
all the humour or sarcasm immediately recognised, might be of 
great harm in India. " He referred also to the importation of 
undesirable films, saying: " It would almost appear that certain 
of the American producers cater especially for such countries as 
India and Japan and make films which they would never dare to 
release in America or England." " I believe it is also true that 
any films which are so suggestive as to come under the ban of 
the Censorship Board of America are silently packed up to places 
like India, where, up to the present, the authorities have not been 
so strict in these matters." 

The Home Secretary (the Hon'ble Mr. J. Crerar) in opposing 
the resolution expressed sympathy with the intention of the mover 
and referred to "the gross misrepresentations of Western morals, 
of Western culture, and Western civilisation which have not in- 
frequently found their way into cinema exhibitions." He pointed 
out, however, that in the Cinematograph Act the Legislature had 
expressly provided that "there must be a large non-official element 
on these Boards. He mentioned also that control of cinematographs 
had been advisedly made a provincial subject and quoted instances 
where it had been found necessary to ban in one province a film 
found unobjectionable in another. He also emphasised the great 
inconvenience to the trade of a Central Board. In the course of 
the debate the Hon'ble Mr. It. P. Karandikar stated: "It has 
been a matter of complaint all over India that the student world 
is drawn away from the right path by the kind of cinema represen- 
tations that are open. It is time for us to look into the matter 
more closely." Other speakers referred mainly to provincial 
differences. The Home Secretary in bis reply said: "We have 
recently, in a general review of the whole question, called the 
attention of local Governments to the directions in which, under 
the existing Act by the existing machinery, improvements can be 

The resolution was negatived. 

There followed on the 2nd February 1925 a question in the 
Legislative Assembly by Khan Bahadur Sarf araz Hussain Khan : 

"Will the Government please state 

(a) if there exists an All-India Board for exercising 
control over cinemas; 

(6) If not, will they please consider the desirability of 
constituting an All-India Board for the purpose? " 

In the reply on the part of Government the questioner was 
referred to the discussion in the Council of State and he was 
informed that a a proposal to this effect has recently been con- 
sidered but the Government of India were not satisfied that the 
practical difficulties in the way of such a proposal could be 
surmounted." A further question was asked by the same gentle- 
man on the 15th March 1927 regarding control over exhibition of 

On the 21st March 1927 the Hon'ble Mr. V. Ramadas Pantulu 
moved the following resolution in thd Council of State : 

" This Council recommends to the Governor-General in Council 
to improve the system of censorship and control over cinemas and 
other public resorts of amusement, and to adopt adequate measures 
to prohibit the exhibition therein of films and other shows which 
are calculated to corrupt the morals of the people." 

In the course of his speech he said : " The films that come from 
'America there are a large number of them exhibited all over the 
Empire and the world contain very many scenes which are 
calculated to corrupt public morals." He referred also to the 
effect of " crime " films. Eegarding the censorship he stated: "My 
complaint is that the control exercised is so feeble and the work 
is done so carelessly that a large mass of films which are really 
objectionable are allowed to pass without censorship and are 
actually on the boards." He mentioned that the idea of tabling 
the resolution had occurred to him after hearing an address given 
by Mrs. Neville Rolfe (of the British Social Hygiene Delegation). 

In the course of the discussion the Hon'ble Rao Sahib 
Dr. IT. Rama Rao stated: "It is a matter of grave concern and 
one of great consternation too that the cinema shows at present 
exhibited in most of the theatres exert a most demoralising influ- 
ence on the inhabitants of this country" and again "I can boldly 
and without fear of contradiction assert that the growing increase 
in crimes and the moral depravities of men and women in India 
are partly the outcome of the so-called educative value of these 
cinema shows." He referred also to the " abo'minable love-scenes 
which . . . lead the unfortunate youngsters astray." 

The Home Secretary (the Hon'ble Mr. H. G. Haig) in 
accepting the resolution on behalf of Government agreed tliat it 
was desirable to improve the system of censorship but was not 
prepared to condemn the work of the Censor Boards which, on 
the whole, making due allowance for the difficulties, had been 
carried out very successfully. Of these Boards he also said: "they 
have adopted methods which in the special conditions with which 
we are faced in India we find it difficult to suggest any immediate 
improvement on." He stated: "the films which are shown in 
India represent an alien civilisation interpreted by these crude 
and vivid methods to an audience which in many cases compre- 
hends very imperfectly the social conditions presented. That 
makes the effect of the cinema particularly difficult to determine." 

" The censor has to decide not only what is tolerable from a 
Western standpoint in the representation of Western manners but 
what is tolerable from an Eastern standpoint, or even what is 
tolerable from the standpoint of probable error or misrepresenta- 
tion/' He mentioned that "at various times within the last few 
years a number of complaints, for the most part of a general 
nature, have been received by the Government of India, and they 
have carried on a somewhat prolonged correspondence with the 


local Governments under whose immediate control the censorship is 
conducted. The general attitude of those local Governments. . ,. 
is that they are achieving a great measure of success in a matter 
of considerable difficulty. " Elsewhere in his speech, referring to 
the attempts being made to produce more British films, he 
expressed a hope that if more British films were forthcoming there 
might be some improvement, and went on to say "But it seems 
to me that a still greater improvement would lie in a considerable 
extension of the production of Indian films, showing Indian 
stories in an Indian setting. " 
The resolution was adopted. 

In neither of these debates was any voice raised to deny that 
the cinema was having a harmful effect in the country. 

14. From the time of the Advisory Publicity Committee's 

recommendations in 1921 onwards (and even 

Correspondence be- before that time) the subject of the censor- 

tween the Govern- ship was constantly under examination by 

ment of India and th G overnment o f India in correspondence 

Provincial Govern- ... _. /> , -rrr -i i j 

ments. with Provincial Governments. We nave nad 

the privilege of perusing this correspondence. 

Endeavours were made to ascertain whether there were any grounds 
for believing that there was any laxity in the censorship. The 
allegations made however were almost invariably of a vague and 
general character and it was practically impossible to obtain speci- 
fic instances to substantiate them. Attempts made to obtain such 
information ended in failure. Apart however from the difficulty 
of determining whether in particular cases undesirable films had 
slipped through the hands of the Censors, there remained always 
the more fundamental problem of whether the main principles 
on which the Censors worked did not need revision ; in other words, 
whether a different standard of censorship altogether was not needed 
in view of the special conditions in India. This was necessarily 
a larger problem than could be tackled by correspondence with 
Provincial Governments; its solution depending on a consideration 
of what exactly was the effect on the illiterate population of wit- 
nessing these films of an alien civilisation a matter very difficult 
to ascertain. 

At the same time it was felt that there were defects in the 
system on which the Boards were organised and in their methods 
of work. In particular some dissatisfaction was felt in regard to 
the system of inspection of films by subordinate Inspectors which 
prevailed at Bombay and Calcutta, and the lack of uniformity of 
standard which must necessarily result where there are several 
Boards with equal powers. Attention had been called to the former 
of these apparent defects by the Advisory Publicity Committee, 
and to the latter by the Hon'ble Sir Ebrahim Jaffer in the Council 
of State on the 22nd January 1925. Various proposals were 
examined from time time to remedy these defects. These proposals 
will be considered more in detail at a later stage in this report. 


The main remedy appeared to lie, in the one case, in the 
direction of a system of inspection of films either by Members of 
the Board exclusively or by stipendiary Censors with high qualifi- 
cations, and, in the other, in the creation of some Central body 
either in addition to or in substitution for the local Boards. On 
examination however, serious obstacles were disclosed in the way 
of carrying any of these proposals into effect and, as it appears, 
a kind of deadlock was reached. 

15. The question of encouraging the production and exhibition 

of Indian films has a natural connection 

Encouragement of with the subject of censorship. Thus, if, 
fhe production and j n fact the exhibition of Western films is 
exhibition of Indian -, . ' . , . . ,, . . ,, 

films. doing some mischief 111 this country the. 

best remedy would seem to be to encourage 

Indian films to take their place, and this is the suggestion made 
by many of the witnesses. Apart however from this consideration 
the encouragement of a national industry of this description is clearly 
advisable per se for reasons which are too obvious to require ela- 
boration. As early as 1921, Mr. Evans had strongly emphasised 
the importance of encouraging the production and exhibition of 
Indian films. The Advisory Publicity Committee recommended a 
25 per cent ad valorem tariff on imported films "in view of the 
necessity for encouraging the production of films in India suited 
to Indian audiences/' 

A question was asked in the Council of State on the 15th 
September 1925 by the Hon'ble Mr. (now Sir Ebrahim) Haroon 
Jaffer as to the amount of production of cinema films in India 
during 1924, and the capital invested in the industry. The reply 
was that Government had no information. In the Legislative 
Assembly on the 26th January 1926 Lala Piyare Lai asked what 
help Government had given to the cinema industry and was 
informed that no help had been given. Again, on the 30th August 
1927 Khan Bahadur Sarfaraz Hussain Khan asked a question in 
the Legislative Assembly regarding the Indian film industry and 
in his reply the Hon'ble Mr. J. Crerar remarked that Government 
had no exact figures as to the number of producing concerns in 
India and that they were considering the institution of a detailed 
examination of the position of the industry. 

16. The subject of British Empire films is raised in the third 

clause of the terms of reference. In 1926 the 
Im P erial Conference passed the following 
Resolution : 

" The Imperial Conference, recognising that it is of the great- 
est importance that a larger and increasing proportion of the films 
exhibited throughout the Empire should be of Empire production, 
commends the matter and the remedial measures proposed to the 
consideration of the Governments of the various parts of the Empire 
with a view to such early and effective action to deal with the 
serious sitiiation now existing as they may severally find possible." 



The " remedial measures proposed " were those suggested by the 
Economic Sub-Committee and were as follows: 

(1) Effective customs duties on foreign films, whether accom- 
panied by a change in the basis on which duties are payable 
or otherwise; 

(2) Ample preference or free entry for films produced within 
the Empire; 

(3) Legislation for the prevention of " blind" and " block" 
booking ; 

(4) The imposition of requirements as to the renting or exhi- 
bition of a minimum quota of Empire films. 

It therefore became incumbent on India in common with other 
parts of the Empire to consider whether or not she should take 
any steps to give encouragement to British Empire films. 

The debate in the 17. On the 14th September 1927, the 

Assembly on the reso- Home Member (the Honourable Mr. J. 

lution recommending Crerar) moved the following Resolution in 
the appointment of , . T ' . , . . A , -, b 

this Committee. the Legislative Assembly: 

" That this Assembly recommends to the Governor-General 
in Council that he be pleased to appoint a Committee to examine 
and report on the system of censorship of cinematograph films in 
India and to consider whether it is desirable that any steps 
should be taken to encourage the exhibition of films produced 
within the British Empire generally and the production and ex- 
hibition of Indian films in particular." 

In the course of his speech the Hon'Me Mr. Crerar referred 
to some of the criticisms which had been levelled against certain 
classes of films exhibited in this country, and against the machi- 
nery of the censorship. Regarding British Empire films he 
alluded to the Resolution of the Imperial Conference and said: 

" Whether we find it possible to proceed on these lines 
or not, it would be premature to say. That is a question which 
might very well be examined." He emphasised the importance 
of encouraging the Indian film industry. Reverting to the 
desirability of appointing a Committee he said that the censor- 
ship question had been under the consideration of Government 
for a number of years and added: " We have now reached the 
stage where the ordinary method of examining questions of pub- 
lic importance by correspondence between the Government of 
India and the Local Governments and between the Local Govern- 
ments and the various subordinate authorities has been nearly 
exhausted. We have passed that stage." Among tjie several 
members who took part in the ensuing debate there was unani- 
mity on the need for the appointment of a Committee to examine 
the question of censorship and consider steps for the encourage- 
ment f the Indian film industry. Controversy was confined 
mainly to the question of British Empire films and the constitu- 
tion of the Committee. Among the speakers Mr. C. Duraiswami 
Ayyangar (who moved an amendment), said: "When we see 


the various kinds of films that are exhibited in this country we 
find that there has been absolutely no efficient or effective control 
over the exhibition or the selection of appropriate films in 
India/' He expressed a strong objection to the introduction of 
religion into the films, particularly in the form of perverted or 
unworthy, renderings of the Puranas. (We may say at once that 
in the course of our extensive enquiry we did not come across 
any complaint that in the Indian films there was any wilful 
attempt to pervert the Puranas or that they were unworthily 
rendered. There were some complaints, however, of inaccuracies 
in dress and fashions and of inapt language.) Lala Lajpat Bai 
in the course of his speech alluded to the misrepresentation of 
Asiatics in general and Indians in particular in films which he 
had witnessed abroad. Colonel J. D. Crawford said that he had 
received very many complaints from his ow r n community regard- 
ing the misrepresentation of the conditions of Western life in 
films shown in this country, and emphasised the necessity for 
encouraging the Indian film industry. Mr. Mohammad Yamin 
Khan disputed the point that people in India attached any im- 
portance to the scenes of Western life which they saw on the 
films, but said that there were some films which were objection- 
able from the point of view of school-children, youths and 
women; and added: "Though some things may not be con- 
sidered objectionable in Western countries . . . from 
the point of view of Indi'a, on account of the different social 
customs prevailing here, they are really objectionable/' He 
also referred to religious and communal questions which were 
dragged into the films, and to misrepresentation of Indians in 
some of the imported films. He added further " Indian ladies 
have now started to see the cinematograph and I like it very 
much. But it would not be desirable that Indian ladies after 
coming out from purdah should see such kinds of films that are 
exhibited nowadays/' The debate was not concluded. 

18. On the following day a resolution in identical terms was 
moved in the Council of State by the Home 
The debate in the Secretary (the Hon'ble Mr. Haig). In the 
Council of State. P i i i -j T J.-L i 

course of his speech he said: I think we 

are probably all agreed that the cinematograph is an influence with 
great potentialities for good or evil, an influence that requires to 
be watched very carefully. I think we are probably all agreed 
that in some respects at the present time that influence is not 
good, and we want to see whether we can eradicate the evil as- 
pects of the cinematograph and improve the good." He then 
proceeded to review the main problems which were for the con- 
sideration of the Committee and which may be summarised from 
his speech as follows: 

(i) " The fundamental question of method, whether the 
censorship should remain as at present on a Provincial basis or 
should be centralized/' " That will be the first and perhaps 
the main problem that the Committee will have to consider/' 


(ii) "The constitution of whatever censoring authority 
they decide is required, and in particular how non-official 
opinion should be brought to bear on this work of censoring. " 

(iii) " The mechanism of the censoring authorities' ' ; in 
other words, the system of censoring : whether for example, the 
censoring should be done by subordinate Inspectors or, in all 
cases, by Members of the Boards themselves. 

(iv) " Whether the existing standards of censorship are 
generally satisfactory "; that is, not merely whether the present 
principles and rules are satisfactory but how those principles and 
rules are to be applied. 

The above represents the " first and primary group of 
problems which this Committee will have to consider." The 
second group is 

(v) The Committee should look into the question how far 
it is possible to develop the production and exhibition of Indian 
films; because (a) the problem of censorship would be largely 
simplified if we could increase the number of Indian films show- 
ing Indian stories in an Indian setting, and (b) " it seems de- 
sirable that the audiences in this country should have presented 
to them pictures which give them their own social conditions, 
their own culture. In that way the cinema may become an 
instrument of great educational and moral value." 

(vi) " There is another factor, really based on the same 
idea. The imperial Conference considered that it was much to 
the advantage of the Empire from the cultural and social point 
of view that films exhibited in the Empire should show Empire 
manners and customs, and should acquaint the various parts of 
the Empire with what is being done in other parts." " 1 do not 
think the imperial Conference really had mainly in view trade 
interests at all. I think they, had mainly in view the cultural 
and social side, and certainly the Government of India have not 
any trade interests in view. Their interest in the matter, so far 
as they have any ; interest at all, is simply that the proportion 
of films showing Empire conditions, Empire manners, should be 
increased. But the Government of India have come to no con- 
clusion on this matter. They have been asked to consider the 
problem, and they remit the problem for the consideration of a 
Committee with a non-official majority and themselves express 
no opinion." 

(vii) " Finally we hope that the Committee will be able to 
give us some information about the organisation of this import- 
ant industry as a whole. We are very ignorant of the details 
of its working, and we hope that the Committee will be able to 
give us some needed information on this point." 

Several speakers supported the Resolution and no opposition 
was expressed, though there was some discussion as to the impli- 
cations of the reference to British Empire films. The Hon'ble 
Sir Ebrahim Jaffer expressed the view that the present provin- 
cial arrangements for censorship "do not seem to have helped 


to any considerable extent in the attainment of the object which 
such censorship should have in view." "The Eon'ble Mr. 
P. C. Desikachari stated: "I believe a systematised and 
centralised form of censorship with an effective control would 
be better than the sort of censorship which is being exercised, 
and I find actually, from the films exhibited in very many places, 
specially in Burma, that those films which are most objectionable 
always find very large audiences in picture theatres. It is high 
time that steps were taken to find out ways and means for effec- 
tive Censorship/' 

19. The Committee was appointed by the Resolution of the 

Government of India (Home Department), 

Appointment and jf o> D-4169, Political, dated 6th October 

. f ^ 1927 which is printed immediately preceding 

this Chapter. The Chairman proceeded to 

Simla on the 3rd October to take up the preliminary work and 
under his instructions such materials as were immediately avail- 
able were collected and arranged. The Committee met for the 
first time at Simla, on the 18th October and after settling the 
Questionnaire, a draft of which had been prepared beforehand, 
adjourned to allow time for the printing and issue of the 
Questionnaire and for the receipt of the earlier replies. (The 
Questionnaire is printed as Appendix B). The Committee 
reassembled at Bombay on the 6th November and commenced 
the examination of witnesses on that date. Thereafter wit- 
nesses were examined in the capital towns of each of the 
Provinces, except Assam and Bihar and Orissa, and flying 
visits were paid to a few of the smaller places. Witnesses 
from Assam and Bihar and Orissa were invited to attend 
at Calcutta. On the conclusion of their tour the Com- 
mittee reached Delhi on February 9th where they were engaged 
in the examination of witnesses until the 25th. As the majority 
of the members were at this period much occupied with their 
duties in the Central Legislatures, it was not possible to proceed 
at once to the report stage. Moreover, the materials collected 
had to be analysed and brought together. Accordingly, the Com- 
mittee adjourned on the 26th February and reassembled on the 
10th April at Ootacamund to draft the Eeport. In the meantime 
the statistical tables, abstracts of evidence and other material 
mentioned in Appendix 'K had been prepared. 

20. The number of copies of the Questionnaire issued was 

XT , r , A 4,325. It was originally intended to 

^Number of witnesses, issue about 3^ but ^ requests for 

large numbers of further copies were received 

from several Provinces it became necessary to print additional 
copies. The number of replies received was 320. The total 
number of witnesses examined was 291 (counting a group of 
witnesses examined jointly as one). The total number altogether 
was 353. Of those examined, 114 were Europeans, Anglo-Indians 
or Americans, and 239 Indians of whom 157 were Hindus and 
82 non-Hindus. Of the non-Hindus, 38 were Muslims, 25 Parsis, 
16 Burmese, 2 Sikhs, and 1 Christian. Altogether 35 ladies 

were examined, of whom 16 were Europeans and 19 Indians, 
Parsis and Burmese. Among the witnesses were 26 members of 
the Legislatures, 101 officials, and 98 persons connected with the 
cinema trade. Of the 353 witnesses, 59 appeared at Bombay, 13 at 
Karachi, 35 at Lahore, 13 at Peshawar, 18 at Lucknow, 72 at 
Calcutta (of whom 2 were from Bifoar and Orissa and 1 from 
Assam), 53 at Madras, 38 at Rangoon, 11 at Mandalay, 1 at Jam- 
shedpur, 14 at Nagpur, and 26 at Delhi. 

The Committee visited some 45 cinemas and witnessed, in 
addition to a number of short-length or educational films, about 
57 feature films, of which 21 were Indian or Burmese .produc- 
tions. Thirteen producing studios were inspected. (See Appen- 
dix E.) 

The total distance travelled was approximately 9,400 miles. 

21. The nature of the enquiry rendered it necessary to obtain 

the views of all sections of the public: of 
officials and non-officials; of residents of 
the towns and of the mofussil; of politi- 
cians, educational authorities, social workers, artists, business- 
men, and, in particular, of as many members as possible of each 
branch of the trade and industry. On the subject of censorship 
and the social aspect of the cinema it was clearly advisable to 
cast our net as wide as possible and we endeavoured, as far as 
was practicable, to give a hearing to all those who had some- 
thing definite to say, especially when they represented some new 
point of view or some different element of society. Nevertheless, 
of those who submitted written statements there were 154 whom 
it was not possible for us to examine. In our investigation into 
the condition of the trade it was necessary to examine a great 
many trade-witnesses in considerable detail. These considerations 
account for the large number of Questionnaires issued and for the 
very voluminous character of the evidence which has been 
recorded. It was also desirable that we should ourselves witness 
as many as possible of the films which were being exhibited 
throughout the country, including an adequate number of Indian 
films. It was also necessary to see something of the actual 
processes of production and the equipment and condition of the 
studios. For the accomplishment of these objects the time at 
our disposal was comparatively limited. ,We were only able to 
devote three months to touring and from this period must be 
deducted the days occupied in travelling from place to place. 

None of us had any special knowledge of the industry and 
we have not had the advantage of seeing the working and 
organisation of film-production as it exists in those countries 
where it is more highly developed. 

22. The main difficulty which we experienced from the outset 
The dearth of statis- of our enquiry was the almost complete 

tics and reliable infor- dearth of statistics and reliable information 
mation. regarding the production, exhibition, and 

distribution of films in this country, and even, to some extent, 
regarding importation. The departments of the Government of 
India and of the Provincial Governments have practically no 
information regarding these matters. 


The same dearth of accurate information is found in the 
trade itself. Such statistics as we were able to obtain from 
members of the trade were often widely divergent. The Provin- 
cial Governments collected at our request particulars from each 
district in their respective Provinces; but the compilation and 
comparison of this information revealed various discrepancies, 
which, in view of the peculiar nature of cinema statistics, are 
perhaps inevitable until some organised system of returns is 
instituted. The Boards of Censors maintain records of their work, 
and these, within their limits, have been very useful to us. As 
regards importation, it is only since 1922-23 that figures of the 
importation of films have been recorded separately, and the year 
1927-28 was the first in which a distinction was made in those 
figures between raw and exposed films. 

23. The lack of information on the part of Government is 

partly to be attributed to the fact that it 

Reasons for the lack ig on "j w i t hin the last ten year* that the 
of information. . ,11 i i i T 

cinema trade has assumed appreciable di- 
mensions, but it is partly due to the general defect of the Govern- 
ment organisation for the collection and supply of statistics in 
this country. The attention of Government has been concentrated 
almost entirely on the question of censorship, and the trade aspect 
of the cinema has been largely neglected. The public also have 
been apathetic and scarcely any interest has been displayed in 
the subject of the production and exhibition of Indian films. 
We have been constantly confronted with the opinion that the 
production of Indian films is "negligible", whereas it is very far 
from negligible. 

24. Another difficulty which we have experienced is that of 

obtaining up-to-date information of the posi- 

tio thej - c nt " es in ?^ to such 

matters as methods of censorship, State aid 
to the industry, and the production and utilization of educational 
films. Through the courtesy, however, of those Consuls whom we 
have addressed and of the High Commissioner in London we have 
been supplied with information on some aspects of the matters 
under enquiry. Even in the case of the United Kingdom accurate 
statistics of, for example, the annual production of films are not 
available, though we are indebted to His Majesty's Trade Com- 
missioner in India "for such figures as could be obtained. In the 
case of America alone there was no such difficulty, and through 
the kind assistance of the United States Trade Commissioner, as 
well as from other sources, we were able to obtain ample infor- 

25. Provincial Governments generally, with the marked ex- 

ception of the Punjab and to a lesser degree 
Lack of interest in the North- West Frontier, showed a lack of 

*irt en o q f Uiry provinc 1 itl interest in our enquiry, indicating that the 

Governments. great potentialities of the cinema had not 

received from the authorities in India that 

appreciation which they deserve and which they have received in 


other countries. ,We were particularly surprised that this should 
be the case in Bombay which is the main centre of the trade and 
of production in India. 

26. "We have been handicapped to some extent in our enquiry 

by the suspicion which has been felt in some 
q liarter8 regarding the object of this Com- 
mittee. There has been a rather widespread 
suspicion that this Committee was appointed for the purpose of 
bolstering up the British film industry and foisting upon India 
some measiire for the assistance of that industry at the expense 
of this country. We are satisfied that there was no such motive 
behind the appointment of the Committee. It is somewhat un- 
fortunate that this suspicion should have arisen, because the 
Committee have from the first been unanimous in their desire for 
the advancement of the Indian industry and have never enter- 
tained the thought of any measure for the encouragement of non- 
Indian films which would be in any way prejudicial to the Indian 
industry or to Indian interests. The Chairman in his opening 
speech at the first meeting of the Committee stressed the point 
that the interests of India would be considered first, and the Com- 
mittee have unanimously adhered to that view throughout. Some 
of the trade-witnesses were clearly influenced by this suspicion 
of the object of the Committee, and the fact that they were un- 
willing to furnish the detailed information, requested by us, of 
the working of their concerns must be largely attributed to this 
cause; though in part it may have been due to a reluctance to 
disclose their trade-secrets, even confidentially. In any case, the 
information was not forthcoming. 

27. We have been told that this Committee is 10 years too 

late ; we have also been told that it is 10 
y ears * ^y; we have even been informed 
quite frankly that this Committee is alto- 
gether unnecessary. To us it appears that the present time is 
peculiarly opportune for an enquiry into the condition of the 
cinema industry in this country. That industry, though still in 
its infancy, has now reached a sufficient stage of development to 
enable a definite opinion to be formed of its quality and charac- 
teristics, its effects and possibilities; it has not yet reached the 
stage when it may be difficult to direct it on the right lines. 
Again, the industry is as yet entirely in Indian hands; non-Indian 
interests, though certainly watchful, have not yet established 
any control over it. It is well that the danger should be recog- 
nized and guarded against before it is too late. Now, in particular, 
is the time when some guidance and encouragement is required 
if the industry is to make any further advance. Other countries 
have been active in fostering the production and exhibition of 
their national films. Germany is a prominent example with her 
Kontingent system and her subsidies to TJ.F.A. Italy has her 
quota system! The new French Regulation is directed towards 
the encouragement of national ideas in films exhibited in France. 


Great Britain has recently passed her Cinema Act which imposes 
a quota for British Empire films. A Royal Commission is en- 
quiring into the cinema industry in Australia. New Zealand 
has a quota under consideration. Japan has a very rigorous cen- 
sorship of foreign films and the percentage of Japanese films ex- 
hibited in Japan has increased from 5 or 6 per cent to 72 per cent 
in 7 or 8 years. It cannot therefore be said that it is premature 
for India to take this matter in hand. 

28. The conclusions embodied in this report are based on the 
general impressions which we have formed on 

How our conclusions the very considerable amount of evidence 
have been reached. which ^ cQme before ug ^ haye not 

been reached by any exact process of weighing the evidence on this 
point or on that, or by counting the Ayes and the Noes. 

29. The general scheme of the Report is as follows. It has 
seemed more convenient to deal with the 

The scheme of the industry first and the social aspects after- 
epor ' wards; as a discussion of the latter must 

necessarily be prefaced by some account of the number of cinemas 
in the country, of the extent to which the cinema-habit has de- 
veloped, and the types of films which are exhibited and which 
are popular and so on. Chapter II is accordingly devoted to a 
brief survey of the condition of the cinema-trade and industry, 
with the special object of bringing out the existing defects and 
difficulties. Chapter III contains a description of the main or- 
ganization which we propose for the assistance of the industry. 
In Chapter IV are detailed our specific recommendations in regard 
to production, distribution and exhibition. Chapter V is con- 
cerned with Educational and Public Utility films, and Chapter 
VI with British Empire films. In Chapter VII we deal with 
social aspects and control, including censorship. Chapter VIII 
is devoted to some miscellaneous points. Chapter IX contains 
a summary of our conclusions and recommendations and Chapter X 
some supplementary matters. 




30. This chapter will be devoted to a concise survey of tlie 

T.I. cinema trade and industry in this country 

Introductory. -, ,, ,.,. i i ? j ,1 

and or the conditions which afreet the various 

branches, and will conclude with a summary of the main defects 
and difficulties which appear to the Committee to require atten- 
tion. Of the three branches Production, Distribution and Exhi- 
bition it will be convenient to deal first wiih Exhibition, though 
it will not always be practicable to maintain a hard and fast line 
between the different branches. 


31. The Indian " territory" for cinema purposes consists of 

India, Burma and Ceylon. When the ex- 

to? Ind Jnd ""Key clus . ive ^ of exhibition of a film in 

Cities." India is acquired, that right ordinarily 

extends to the whole of this " territory. " 

Within this "territory" Bombay, Calcutta, Rangoon and, per- 
haps, to a less degree Colombo may be said to be the "key-cities," 
in the sense that before exhibition throughout India or through- 
out a division of India a film is generally shown in the first 
instance in one or more of these "key-cities" which are the 
moat important from the trade point of view and yield the largest 
returns. It has not of course been possible to extend our enquiry 
to Ceylon and the Indian States. It is understood, however, 
that there are few cinemas in Ceylon. 

32. The number of permanent working cinema-houses in British 

ml . . India (including Burma) is approximately 

The number of cine- onn m & r ' > i 

mas oOO. Ihis figure is based on information 

^collected by the Provincial Governments 

from each of the districts, and its approximate correctness is 
substantiated by the evidence of trade witnesses. The difficulty 
of arriving at an accurate figure has been accentuated by the 
fact that statistics collected by the Provincial Governments on 
different occasions during the last twelve months reveal a certain 
amount of variation. Prom detailed information supplied recently 
by those Governments a list of the permanent cinema-houses 
in India has been compiled. According to this list (which is 
printed in Volume IV) the exact number is 309. This figure does 
not include about j$X " seasonal " cinemas, mostly in hill-stations, 
which are open 'only for a part of the year, and about twelve 
privately-owned regimental cinemas. There are numerous halls 
which are occasionally used for cinematograph performances; it 
is impossible to estimate the number of these and they have been 


excluded from the figures. In addition to the cinemas in British 
India it is estimated that there are about GO in the Indian States. 

33. The number of cinema-houses in the country has shown 

'a progressive increase from year to year, 

Progressive increase and th t t j to . d ifl more thau double 

m number ot cinemas. .. , ... r lruil , . , . , , 

the number existing in 1921 which is reported 

to have been 148. The detailed figures with an explanatory 
note \fill be found in Table 1. 

34. Among the provinces Bombay heads the list with the 

largest number of permanent cinemas, 77 ; 
Distribution. Burma is next with 58; Madras has 43; the 

United Provinces, 28; Bengal, 20; the Punjab, 22; the Centra] 
Provinces, 15; Bihar and Urissa, 13; the North-West Frontier 
Province, 10; Delhi and Assam, 3 each; and there are about 11 
others in Cantonments situated in Indian States. Of the total 
of 309, 77 are located in the provincial capitals and the remainder 
in the smaller provincial towns. Sixty-six aie in Cantonment 

35. It will be noticed that the number of cinemas in India 

is extremely small when compared with the 

of 'Xemr'ln tadiT ^ o the PP^"ou. There is erne cinema 
for every 802,589 of the population. 

America with a population of 120 millions has 20,500 cinemas; 
while Australia with a popidation of only millions has 1,216 
cinemas. Great Britain with a population of 47,140,500 has 3,700 
cinemas; Germany (population 02,592,000) has 3,878 cinemas; 
France (population 39,209,000) has 2,947 cinemas; Italy (popu- 
lation 42,113,000) has 2,200 cinemas and Japan (population 
83,454,000) has 1,050 cinemas. 

Again, the total seating accommodation of the cinemas in 
India is approximately 222,000. If the average attendance per 
diem be taken as 200 atTSSfrtf cinema, the average daily attend- 
*ance will be only 61,800. The explanation of the small number 
of cinemas in this country is to be found partly in the poverty 
of the people and the fact that the great majority of the popula- 
tion reside in small villages, where a cinema would not be a pay- 
ing concern; and partly also in the fact that the 
is notfit. widel develos.. 

36. The large luxuriously-appointed cinema-palaces which are 

not uncommon in the cities of the West 
I he character of -i * i T T mi / 

the cinema-houses. do not * xlst in India - Tliere are a few 

- comfortable well-appointed cinema-houses ; 

but the majority are necessarily cheap unpretentious constructions 
which are however not inadequate for the purpose. The average 
seating accommodation is about JiOJJL Admission prices range 
from As. 3, which is ordinarily the lowest, to Its. 2 or Its. 3, with 
special charges for boxes. The prices of seats in Western 
cinemas are generally higher. The music naturally varies accord- 
ing to the class of audience which patronises the hall. In those 


cinemas frequented by Europeans and educated Indians Western 
music is provided by means of a piano or a small orchestra; 
while in those patronised exclusively by Indians the music is 
Indian, and costs less. The Burmese cinemas have their own 
peculiar music. 

37. Generally two performances per diem are given, with an 
extra performance on Saturdays and Sun- 

davS 5 bllt in 80me cinemas which * show 
Indian films the number of daily perform- 
ances is larger. Thus in the cinemas in Bombay which show 
Indian films four daily performances are given during the week 
and five on Saturdays and Sundays. Occasionally special mati- 
nees are given. For example, in some cinemas in the larger 
cities there are "all-comic" afternoon programmes once a week, 
which have a special attraction for children; while in Peshawar 
there is an exhibition on Friday afternoons for the special benefit 
of the tribesmen from the independent tracts, traders, and others 
who visit the city on that day. 

(58. A distinction has to be drawn between those picture-houses 
which cater mainly for Europeans, Anglo- 
Indians and educated Indians, and those 
which cater for wholly Indian audiences. 
There are a few of the former in each of the big cities, and there 
are others in cantonments, hill-stations, and in connection with 
clubs and institutes. (For convenience these may be termed 
Western cinemas.) The programmes of such cinemas consist 
entirely of Western films. Of 271 cinemas regarding which 
information is available, G4 are shown as exhibitors of Western 
films only. There is uo doubt, however, that actually the figure 
should be larger. .The number of cantonment cinemas alone is 
GO. Probably the number of Western cinemas is at least 100. 
The remaining cinemas show both Indian and imported films in 
very varying proportions. There are some which show Indian 
films- almost exclusively, and only resort to Western films when 
they cannot obtain Indian. The fact that the supply of Indian 
films is not equal to the demand accounts for the fact that only 
a negligible number of cinemas have been described in the returns 
as showing exclusively Indian films. Again there are many 
cinemas which show an Indian film occasionally, while there are 
many which show a fair proportion of each kind. 

39. There are two circuits of cinema theatres. The largest is 

Circuits ^ ia ^ "^ ^ a dan Theatres, Ltd., who own 65 

cinemas and are in association with over 20 

others who are under an arrangement to take pictures from them. 
The other circuit is that of Globe Theatres, Ltd., who supply their 
pictures to 35 cinemas of which 7 or 8 are under their direct control. 
Madan Theatres, Ltd., import and exhibit a large proportion of 
American films, with a few British and Continental pictures. They 
also exhibit and distribute their own Indian productions and a 
few of the films of other Indian producers. Globe Theatres, Ltd., 


exhibit and distribute Western films exclusively. They specialise 
in British films, of which they are the largest importers, and also 
import an almost equally large number of American films. 

40. In India the cinema has as yet scarcely touched the fringe 

of the vast rural population. Those who 

f ^ attend the cinema are tlie inhabitants of tlie 
big cities and the" larger provincial towns. 

It is only through the travelling cinemas that the rural population 
has been affected, and only to a very slight extent. The composi- 
tion of the audience varies according to the part of the country 
concerned as well as to the particular locality and to the class of 
the cinema, it is therefore not possible to lay down any classifica- 
tion of an average audience which would be true for, the country as 
a whole. It can be said however that on the average a large 
proportion of the attendance is from the educated and semi-educated 
classes, and that on the whole the illiterates are in a minority. The 
bogey of the danger of showing Western films to the illiterate 
masses has been frequently raised, but the rural illiterates scarcely 
attend the cinema at all; while of the town-illiterates only a small 
proportion attend. Indian women rarely attend the cinema, parti- 
ci^irly^tiisliiu women. It is only in the case of an Indian religious 
or mythological film that there is any appreciable attendance of 
women, and these are, naturally enough, Hindus. The percentage 
of children in any audience is extremely small. Generally speaking, 
.Hindus patronise the cinemas much more than Muslims'. This is 
partly due to the fact that among some sections of the Muslim 
community, particularly in Northern India, there is a religious 
objection to the^ovinp picture, but more to the fact that the'Indian 
films which are so popular with the Hindus do not generally appeal 
to Muslim sentiment. In some parts of the country however where 
tiicTjpopulation 1S predominantly Muslim, e.g., in the North-West 
Frontier Province and in Lucknow, the audiences are mainly 

41. In India both Western and Indian films are widely 

exhibited. There is no prejudice against 

fill'wS 1S Weste fijms, which are much enjoyed and 
l ar . appreciated. There are certain types of 

Western films which appeal to all classes and 

communities. The spectacular super-films and the films featuring 
Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, have a 
universal appeal. A film in which any of these world-famous 
figures of the screen appears can be sure of an enthusiastic recept- 
ion in any cinema in India. The most popular film ever shown in 
India was the " Thief of Baghdad, " with Douglas Fairbanks in an 
Oriental setting. 

The taste of the Westernised Indian and of the Indian who has 
some knowledge of English and acquaintance with Western ideas 
is akin to that of the European and generally the same films 
whether social dramas, comedies, or. whatever they may be, which 

are popular in the West are appreciated by this section of the 
community. The bulk of the population however, which is insuffi- 
ciently acquainted with the English language and with Western 
ideas, enjoys films with plenty of action, especially comic and 
adventure films, but finds no attraction in the social dramas. This 
is natural enough; being unable to read the caplions, which are 
almost always in English, they derive their entertainment from 
watching the " stunts, " comic or adventurous. If there is plenty 
of action they can follow the sequence of events, and they are very 
quick at grasping the significance of the scenes and picking up the 
story. The hearty applause which is heard from the cheap seats 
when the hero administers summary justice to the villain or rescues 
the heroine in the nick of time shows a proper appreciation of the 
events and is very seldom at fault. On the other hand, the social 
drama, depending very often for its appeal on some matrimonial 
entanglement or othev complications of an entirely alien social life, 
is quite unintelligible to an audience of this class, who can neither 
read the captions nor follow the action. At one time the "serials" 
which consist of a series of sensational and thrilling episodes, fight- 
ing, kidnapping, escapes, rescues, with a lavish employment of 
motorcars, aeroplanes and submarines were the most popular type 
of film with this clatts of audience. The "serial" however has lost 
its former popularity, and has been largely supplanted by the Indian 

42. Indian films are extiemely popular with Indian audiences, 

particularly with the less cultured classes. 

fih^Sr tt t J 1S- lucted Indian is generally apt to find 
l ar . them somewhat lacking both in technique and 

in artistry and to compare them unfavourably 

with the more finished American products. Indian films of a reli- 
gious or mythological character, such as " The Bnth of Krishna," 
have a special appeal and tend to attract Hindus of all classes 
throughout the country. Films of a historical or quasi-historical 
character and Indian social dramas are often popular, but their 
appeal, especially in the case of the latter class, is apt to be limited 
by provincial differences of dre?s and customs The Indian comic 
film can scarcely be said to exist as yet, though comic scenes are 
sometimes introduced. Films depicting Muslim life are few in 
number, which is partly due to the difficulty of producing a film of 
this type which will not give offence to some section of Muslim 
opinion. Some films founded on stories from the "Arabian 
Nights," however, such as "Aladdin" and "AH Baba, " have 
achieved a very wide popularity throughout India. 

43. As regards the lelative popularity of Indian and Western 
T , films, there is no doubt that the great 

larity 6 of* Indfa/T^d ma jp rit 7 of the Indian audiences prefer 

Western films. Indian films. Generally, aft Indian film 

draws much larger audiences than a Western 

film. This general rule holds good provided that the film is a 
suitable one ; an exception has to be made in the case of those films 


which are unsuited to the local taste owing to provincial idiosyn- 
crasies, a subject on which we shall have more to say later. Even 
however if Indian productions could be brought up to the artistic 
and technical level of the Western productions it is likely that there 
would always remain a consivleruble demand for Western films, as 
there is a natural desire to see something of the life of the West, 
which, io the unsophisticated at any rate, is full of novelties. One 
example of this taste among the uneducated class was given by a 
witness from Assam who told us that at first the labourers on his 
tea-garden were content with the films of their own life and 
surroundings which he used io show them, but afterwards demanded 
films of Western life. 

44. Change of taste is a factor which has to be noticed. We 

have seen how public taste has changed away 
Change of taste. from the seria i s ^j^ at O ne time were 

so popular. It would seem also that the old " Wild West" films 
have lost much of their popularity. There is also a perceptible 
change in 1he public taste^as regards Indian and Burmese films. 
The more stereotyped pictures are losing their attraction and there 
is a demand for beitei; quality. 

45. The evidence of trade-witnesses is almost unanimous that in 

cinemas which rater for purely Indian audi- 

n w? ences < Indian film is ordinarily more 

profitable than West- ^ 

ern films. profitable to the exhibitoi; than a Western 

film. Although the exhibitor pays more for 

the Indian film, his gross receipts are greater owing to much larger 
attendance. The crowds which flock to., witness a popular Indian 
film (and many of them are popular) are really remarkable.* 

Exhibitors are able to obtain imported films at reasonable prices. 
There has been a certain amount of complaint from the exhibitors 
that they cannot obtnm the best Western films as the supply of 
these is alleged to be cornered by Madan, Ltd. There have also 
been other complaints that this circuit is injuriously affecting the 
interests of the exhibitors. These complaints against Madans' cir- 
cuit will be examined separately later. 

Exhibitors cannot always obtain Indian films, as the demand is 
greater than the supply; in particular there is some difficulty in 
obtaining the better productions, which command relatively high 
prices as compared with the ordinary Western films. 

Although in the course of our enquiry many figures were given 
to us of the cost of different films and classes of films, no useful 
purpose will be served by quoting these figures as the cost of a 
film, whether to the importer or to the exhibitor, varies enormously. 
The royalty on a super-film may be Us. 20,000 or more, while on 

*Note. Tn Appendix L are printed, (1) figures of receipts in Bombay 
from three of the hest Indian and three of the hest non-Indian films, the 
receipts from the non-Indian films heing higher, (2) receipts from taxed 
seats (i.e., over annas 4) in three cinemas in Bombay showing Western 
films only and three showing Indian only, during a period of 6 months, 
the receipts from the Indian films being higher, 


the other hand a second-hand American film can be purchased on 
the London market for 5. Similarly the rates paid by the exhi- 
bitor vary between extraordinarily wide limits according to the 
class of his cinema, its situation, the box-office value of the film 
and whether it is for the first run or the second run. Specially 
low rates have to be allowed in the case of the small mofussil 
cinemas. It is understood that in the case of such cinemas an 
imported film of the cheaper class can be obtained for Rs. 100 per 
week or half-week or less, but that for Indian films the charge is 
seldom, if ever, less than Rs. 40 per diem. 

46. Whether exhibition is a paying concern is not a question 

which can be answered by a simple negative 

The financial aspect. Qr affirmativo . i t depends upon a number 

of different factors, such as the locality, the terms of the lease, 
the amount of competition, and the business capacity of the 
manager. The largest returns from films are obtained in the big 
cities such as Bombay, Calcutta and Rangoon. There is no 
doubt that some of the exhibitors; particularly in the big 
cities, are making profits. In Bombay and Calcutta there is 
an entertainment tax and there have been strong complaints 
that this tax is a heavy burden on the exhibitor. It is trne that 
in many cases the exhibitors pay the tax from their own pocket 
and do not pass it on to the public. In our opinion the levy of 
the tax on tickets of Re. 1 or over does not greatly affect the 
exhibitor but when, as in Bombay, it is imposed on tickets of less 
than Re. 1 it is a definite handicap to him. In' Madras legisla- 
tion has been passed to< enable the imposition of an entertainment 
tax, but, pending the publication of the regulations under the Act, 
the tax had not been levied up to the time of the -Committee's 
visit. All the evidence, however, is to the effect that, with a few 
exceptions, the mofussil exhibitors are having a hard struggle to 
make a living. Most of them hold their cinema-houses on 1 lease 
and there has been a general complaint concerning the exorbitant 
rates which they have to pay. We believe that in many cases it 
is true that the rent which they are compelled to pay is dispropor- 
tionate to their receipts, and that this is one of the causes of the 
frequent failures of exhibitors. It has come to our notice that 
cinemas, especially those in the mofussil, are constantly changing 
hands. It has been stated by trade witnesses that this is often due 
to the fact that persons without experience and business knowledge 
take up exhibition. 

47. In 1 addition to the permanent cinemas there are a number, 

m . . & somewhat indefinite number, of travelling 

Travelling cinemas. cinemag At j he request of the Committe 

enquiries were made by the Provincial Governments to ascer- 
tain the number of travelling cinemas in their respective 
provinces. The figures so obtained are printed as Table 6. 
The total number according to this information is about 116. The 
evidence of witnesses however tends to show that this figure 


is too high, and the number of local licences issued to travelling 
cinemas (see Table 7) clearly points to the same conclusion. It is 
probable that the total is not more than about 50 or 60. The figure 
must necessarily be somewhat indefinite as the travelling cinemas 
come into existence and pass away; moreover it would seem that 
they work spasmodically, and that some only fun'ction occasionally. 
These travelling cinemas visit the smaller provincial towns where 
there are no picture houses and big fairs (melas). They some- 
times hire local halls, but according to such evidence as we have 
been able to obtain, they more generally carry with them their own 
tents and benches, transported on bullock-carts. They halt for 
varying periods at the centres they visit, in some cases making a 
stay of two or three months. The lowest admission charge is 
ordinarily two annas, sometimes one anna. At melas they give a 
succession of shows, which may amount to ten in one day. They ar0 
more common in Southern India than in the North, but they are 
found to some extent in practically all the provinces. Naturally, 
they do not need to change their programmes in the same way as a 
permanent cinema, and so they carry only films sufficient for two 
or three programmes. Ordinarily they exhibit old second-hand 
western films which can be purchased very cheaply, and according 
to our information these films are generally much worn and in 
very poor condition. Sometimes, but, we believe, very seldom, 
Indian films are exhibited by travelling cinemas. In Calcutta 
there is some manufacture of Indian films especially for travelling 
cinemas and certainly these are shown to some extent in' Bengal 
and the neighbouring areas. These- travelling cinemas in India 
are poorly organised, poorly equipped concerns, and certainly are 
not profitable. The evidence which we have received clearly shows 
that they barely pay their expenses and have a hard struggle for 
existence. Their principal grievance is the number and expense 
of the licences which they are compelled to take out. 

48. Ordinarily news and topical films are exhibited only in 

the first-class cinemas. The most widely 
filnS 6 * and ^P' * 1 exhibited are the Pathe Gazettes (British) 

of which there is a considerable importa- 
tion. The Pathe Gazettes, in fact, account for a large proportion 
of the imports of British films. The footage of these Gazettes 
which passed through the Boards of Censors was 217,480 in 
1925-26 and 243,982 in 1926-27. Copies of the same film are im- 
ported at Bombay and Calcutta and examined by the Censors at 
each place. Deducting copies of the same film, the footage 
would be approximately 153,784 and 175,436 for those years 
respectively. There are also some other Gazettes, such as 
" Urban Movie Chats ", imported by Madan's and exhibited in 
their circuit. 

Extremely few Indian news or topical films axe exhibited 
There is no demand for such films and ordinarily it is not profit- 
able to produce them. Madan's however produce a few both for 


home consumption and export and find them paying, no doubt 
because of the facilities they have for their exhibition in their 
large circuit. 


49. The films exhibited by the cinemas are either, (1) import-' 

ed or (2) locally produced. There are four 

f Im " main im P rters in India > ^ niver ? al Pic - 
tures Corporation, Ltd., Pathe India, Ltd., 

Madan Theatres, Ltd., and Globe Theatres, Ltd. The two 
former have their head-offices in Bombay, and the two latter, in 
Calcutta. Universal import the productions of their principals 
in America, and since 1927 have imported some British films 
also. Pathe are sole agents for Pathe and First National 
(American) pictures but are not confined to these two firms. 
Madan Theatres, Ltd., mainly import American pictures; and 
are under contract with several of the leading American pro- 
ducers. Globe Theatres, Ltd., import both British and American 
pictures, as already explained. There are also several minor 
importing concerns such as the Empire Film Compiany, Bombay 
and Karachi; Jeena Company, Bombay; Guiana Brothers, Kara- 
chi; Alliance Trades Agency, Calcutta; Capitol Bioscope, Kara- 
chi; Great Eastern Corporation, Delhi; Hindustan Film Com- 
pany, Madras; Peninsular Film Service, Madras, and Mr. B. D. 
Gupta, Delhi. But the four companies mentioned, supply most of 
the Western films exhibited in the country. Universal supply pic- 
tures to 85 cinemas; Pathe to about 100; Madan's to 85; and 
Globe to 35. But this does not mean that each of these com- 
panies supplies all the pictures required by the number of cine- 
mas specified. There is no doubt that Madan's obtain most of 
the super films and the more famous and costly productions, 
while it is from Universal's in particular that a large number 
of the smaller cinema-houses obtain their supplies of the less 
expensive classes of films. 

50. The distribution of Indian films is in most cases under- 

e taken by the producers themselves who 
negotiate directly with the exhibitors. 
Only a few of the Indian producers em- 
ploy a distributing agency; in such cases the distributor is under 
an obligation to distribute only the pictures of a particular com- 
pany; and himself advances money to the producer. Indian 
producers very rarely sell the rights to exploit any of their pro- 

51. Films, both Indian and imported, are distributed in some 

^ . , , cases on a percentage system and in others 

Percentage and fixed -- ^ -j !* ru ~ 11 J.-L i 

hire systems. on fix d hire ' Generally the principle is 

thau the percentage system is adopted when 

the exhibitor is of good standing and recognised reliability, 

while the small exhibitors or those who are not known tg 

producer have to take the picture at a fixed rate per diem or pet 
week or where there is a bi-weekly change of programme for the 
period of three or four days' exhibition. The percentage de- 
manded by the producers in India is generally 40 per cent of the 
gross-receipts of the exhibitor; ihe exhibitor retaining 60 per 
cent. The exhibitor bears the advertisement and other charges. 
Some of the Bombay producers ask 45 per cent and sometimes 
50 per cent is obtained. Naturally the percentage varies; if the 
picture is taken up by a big circuit the producer may get only 
25 or 30 per cent but a's against this difference in th.e percentage 
there are corresponding advantages. These figures are for " first- 
run " pictures, i.e., for the right to exhibit the picture for the 
first time in a particular area. For a " second-run " picture the 
percentage is lower, and is sometimes 33 -. "Where there is 
a distributor, he generally retains 10 per cent of the producer's 
share as his commission. 

In Burma, when a picture is run on percentage, the producer, 
in the case of a good picture, obtains 70 per cent, but himself 
bears the advertisement charges and sometimes supplies the music ; 
for an average picture he gets 55 per cent, the exhibitor bear- 
ing the expenses. But in the case of the better Burmese pictures, 
the producer frequently hires a hall and undertakes the exhibition 
of the picture himself, paying a percentage of the gross receipts 
to the owner of the hall. There is however an agency which 
distributes the productions of six of the less important producing 

52. There is no organised system of distribution iu this country 
. . such as obtains for example in America 

organised Un " where the producer normally is financed by 

the distributor or by financial houses. It is 
in an undeveloped stage and methods are not uniform. 

53. The terms " block " and " blind " booking are not always 

used in the same sense. TFe bTock-book- 

an?wS g book f ing! Ck i^ system" iTsometin^^ feier 

only to the system of contracting HBef ore jthe 

beginning of the year to take the whole output of pictures of a 
particular producer in that year before those pictures are pro- 
duced, i.e., contracting for a block of pictures before they are 
produced. In some cases the names of the pictures and other 
particulars regarding them, including the names of the "stars' * 
who will take part, are known beforehand. Where such particu- 
lars are not known, the booking is " blind " as well as " block." 
The terms are also used in a more general sense to mean the 
system whereby the exhibitor (or purchaser) who wishes to obtain 
certain super-films or^films of recognised box-office value is com- 
pelled to accept witlTlhem a number"* of inferior films; and the 
booking is " blind " when he engages to take a fixed number of 
pictures or " programmes " without knowing what pictures will 
be supfplied. " Block " and " blind " booking, iri both senses 
of the terms, prevail to some extent in India. It is undesirably 

and, for our purpose, unnecessary to mention particular companies 
or to give specific instances. 

54. The system prevails among importers to the extent that 

in certain instances the importer contracts 
Block and blind ith pro ducer in America to tefce the 
booking as regards . _ -? , . , i * x 

imported films. whole ot the year s output before it is pro- 

duced. He does so because he knows from 

experience that that company can be depended upon to turn out 
pictures of box-office value, and that the " stars " they employ 
are popular. As regards other pictures, they are often released 
in America and Europe long before they come to India; and thus 
the importer h$S an opportunity of knowing the merits of a pic- 
ture before he "orders it. Whatever pictures he imports, good, 
bad or indilferent, the importer must induce the exhibitor to 
accept. In order to dispose of the inferior films he must 
compel the exhibitor to accept a block. It has been difficult to 
discover the real facts, as importers and distributors have been 
anxious to deny that they themselves force the exhibitors to 
accept pictures which they do not want, while the exhibitors 
have assured us that even when they book in block they are 
allowed a certain amount of choice. The block-booking system 
as between the exhibitor and the importer exists in India, but 
is by no means invariable; and we believe that in many cases 
the system is not absolute but that there is a certain amount of 
give and take; and that* the exhibitor has some freedom of 
choice. Owing to the interval of time which elapses between the 
release of a picture abroad and its arrival in this country the 
exhibitor has generally the means of knowing in advance the 
merits of any picture which he orders or which he is due to 
receive; and many of them study the trade- journals and other 
trade literature for this purpose. The interval between the re- 
lease of a picture abroad and its release in India varies enor- 
mously. Occasionally the two releases are almost simultaneous; 
but the period may be anything up to 18 months or more. The 
interval depends to some extent on the fact that the bigger pic- 
tures are generally released in the winter, which is the exhibition 
season in India. According to our information some of the 
cheaper pictures are very old, having been produced by the 
smaller independent exhibitors in America sometimes as much as 
six years previously. 

55. As regards Indian pictures we have met with the same 

difficulties in ascertaining the real facts 

bookfnt ^regS concerning the booking system, owing to 
Indian films. the reluctance of trade-witnesses to give 

full information*" on the subject. Those of 

them who were requested to allow the Committee to see their 
actual contracts were unwilling to do so. We understand how- 
ever that the practice of contracting for the whole year's output 
of a producing concern does exist to a certain extent. But ex- 
hibitors invariably informed us that they had some freedom of 


56. The system of " trade-showing " does not exist in India. 
T d h win ^ u ^ as ^ as a l rea( ty been explained, the 

merits of a foreign picture are generally 

known approximately before the picture is imported, while in the 
case of Indian pictures the mofussil exhibitor keeps himself in- 
formed of the reception accorded to a picture on its first release 
in one of the " key cities " and arranges his bookings accord- 


57. There is a considerable amount of production of Indian 

films in some parts of India, a fact which 

Indian production. f has uot been sufficiently known either 'to 
Government or to the public. The number 

and footage of feature films produced in India is, for example, 
largely in excess of the number and footage of feature films 
produced in the United Kingdom. In 1925 the production of 
feature films in the United Kingdom was 34, in 1926, 26, and in 
1927, 48. The approximate number of feature films produced by 
Indian concerns (excluding Burma) in 1924-25 was 70, in 
1925-26, 111, and in 1920-27, 108. Indian films are very 
popular with Indian audiences and are shown in every part of 
India, and, to a small extent, in Burma also. The majority of the 
films exhibited in India are imported and are mainly American, 
very nearly 80 per cent of the films imported being American. But 
of the total quantity of films exhibited the Indian films form an 
appreciable percentage. There are no data available from which the 
proportion of screen time devoted to Indian films can be compared 
with the proportion devoted to imported films. But some indica- 
tions of the extent to which Indian films are exhibited can be 
obtained from the number and footage of Indian filmsi examined 
by the Boards of Censors. Every film before exhibition must be 
passed by one of the Boards of Censors in India; and therefore the 
footage of Indian films examined by the Boards in any year com- 
pared with the footage of imported films so examined will give 
some idea of the proportion of Indian to imported films exhibited. 

58. In 192425 ,the footage of Indian films examined by the 

Boards (excluding Burma; was 485,858 and 

T ^ he roportion of the footage of imported films 3,620,055. In 
Indian mms. 1925-26 the figures were 727,352 and 

3,802,364 respectively; and in 1926-27, 886,477 and 4,920,427. 
For the year 1927-28 (up to February 29th) the figures are 
777,375 and 4,432,164 respectively. The percentage of Indian 
films to the total footage examined in India proper was therefore 
11.83, 16.05, 15.26 and 14.92 in those years respectively. 
(Detailed figures are given in Table 9.) If Burma is included, 
the footage of Indian and Burmese films examined by the Boards 
in 1924-25 was 789,588; in 1925-26, 1,152,952; in 1926-27, 
1,447,577, and in the eleven months of 1927-28, 1,336,525; and 
the percentage of Indian and Burmese films to the total footage 
examined in those years was 16-5, 21-7, 21-6 and 21-2 respectively. 
These figures do not give any indication of the screen time 


involved because one film may be shown in 10 cinemas and another 
in 50. ^Moreover several copies of the same film may be circula- 
ted. There is a tendency to show Indian films for longer 
continuous periods than Western films. Thus in Calcutta and 
Bombay an Indian film, if popular, often has a run of several 
weeks in the same cinema. Again in those towns more daily 
performances are sometimes given in 'the Indian than in the 
Western ciiieinas. On the other hand, the number of cinemas in 
which an Indian film can be shown is limited as explained in 
paragraph 78 below. 

59. The progressive increase of Indian production may similarly 
be gauged by comparing the footage of 

Progressive increase Indian films examined by the Boards in 

idoftSpo?^ 1 ^ ^ch year. In 1921-22 the total Indian 

footage so examined was 393,068 and in 

1922-23, 438,541 as compared with 886,477 feet examined in 
1926-27 and 777,375 feet examined in the first 11 months of 
1927-28. (See Table 9.) 

There has also been a progressive increase in the quantity 
of imported films. The figures of imported films examined 
annually by the Boards do not give an accurate idea of this 
increase because in the years 1921-22 to 1923-24 those figures are 
abnormal owing to the fact that a very large number of films 
already in circulation were put up for examination in the early, 
years of the Boards' existence, and this abnormality assumes 
large proportions in the case of the imported films. The figures 
of annual importation of films into India are as follows : 

1922-23 ... 7,310,429ft. 

1923-24 ... 7,201,655ft. 

1924-25 ... 9,444,760ft. 

1925-26 ... 13,917,199ft. 

1926-27 ... 17,482,664ft. 

1927-28 ... 19,668,648ft 
(11 months) 

As it is only from the year 1927-28 that raw and exposed 
films have been recorded separately, it is difficult to determine 
accurately the progressive increase in the amount of exposed film 
imported. Our colleague Mr. Green, however, who is experi- 
enced in such figures, has made a calculation (which is explained 
in Appendix F) of the approximate imports of raw and exposed 
films in each year, with the following results: 
Year. Baw filjof. " Exposed film. 

1922-23 ... 520,429 ..." 6,790,000. 
1923-24 ... 1,451,655 ... 5,750,000. 
1924-25 ... 3,194,760 ... 6,250,000. 
1925-26 ... 6,258,199 ... 7,661,000. 
1926-27 ... 7,715,632 ... 9,767,032. 
1927-28 ... 11,221,054 ... 10,235,656 (or excluding 
re-imports 9,322,366), an increase over 
1922-23 of nearly 51 per ceiit. 

* Full year based on eleren month*' aotnalH. 


60. There is little information regarding the early days of 

film production in India, but it is under- 

stood that tjle first Indian film Wa ? P rodllced 
by Mr. Phalke and was screened in Bombay 

in 1913. Mr. Phalke produced several films, all of which were 
successful, and his business was afterwards converted into the 
Hindustan Film Company, which is located at Nasik and is one 
of the leading producing concerns. We have been informed 
that those who acquired experience in the earlier days of produc- 
tion tended to set up separate skuiios of their own, and in this 
way the number of producers has grown. 

61. There are 21 producing concerns in India actually pro- 

ducing films and 17 in Burma. Of the 21 

Number and disfcri- Indian concerns, two are situated in Indian 

companies. producmg States, namely, the Maharashtra Company 

at Kolhapur, and the Lakshmi Pictures 

Company in Baroda. Eight or nine are producing a steady output, 
whereas the output of the others is small. Bombay is the seat of 
the producing industry in India. There are 13 producing agencies 
in the Presidency excluding the Kolhapur Company. The only 
other centre in India where there is any appreciable production is 
Calcutta, where there are four concerns, of which one is Madan 
Theatres, Limited. Of the other three, one has as yet produced 
one film and another two. There are two prodiieers at Lahore, but 
they have so far devoted themselves to the production of educa- 
tional and public utility films for Government and of a few 
topicals. In Madras there is at present no production though a 
few films have been produced there in the past. In Rangoon 
there is a considerable output of Burmese films, and this output 
has shown a remarkable increase in recent years. The footage 
of Burmese films examined by the Burma Board in 1921-22 was 
68,800 feet, while the figure for 1926-27 is 561,100 (see Table 10). 
Of the 17 Burmese producing agencies, only about four can be 
considered as established concerns with a steady output. The 
remainder produce spasmodically and some of them are of an 
ephemeral character. (A list of producing concerns in India and 
Burma is given in Table 22.) With reference to the relatively 
large number (when compared with the total output) of producing 
concerns in India and Burma, it is interesting to note that in 
America, although there are a great many smaller producers, the 
bulk of the pictures Are produced by a very few, perhaps seven 
or eight, companies. 

62. Excluding Madans, the producing agencies in India are 
The character of the comparatively small and none of them are 
producmg companies, public companies. Their capital has been 
provided by a single individual or by several partners, and, as far 
as it has been possible to ascertain, the capital invested does not 
ordinarily exceed two lakhs. Those engaged in running these 
concerns, for the most part, are not experienced business men, nor 
are they well qualified by technical or artistic training abroad nor 
can they in general be described as men of high culture. In most 


cases they have acquired their experience as they proceeded. In 
a few instances there are directors, camera-men or other members 
of the staff who have had some training abroad, but this training 
has generally been of a somewhat desultory character. By these 
remarks it is not our intention to cast any sort of reflection on the 
Indian producers ; on the contrary, we consider that much credit is 
due to them for having achieved, without the advantage of any 
thorough training; the measure of success which has been obtained, 
and for having advanced Indian production so rapidly within the 
last few years. 

63. The producers, like the exhibitors, are not properly 

organised. There are some associations of 

Lack of organisation tfce tra(]e d f produoers but there is 
and information. T,,I , ,1 i i , ,1 

little strength or solidarity in these associa- 
tions. Similarly the producers and the trade as a whole are much 
handicapped by lack of trade information. There are a few 
publications concerned with the cinema in India, but there is no 
reliable trade journal or book of reference. From leading mem- 
bers of the trade in India who are in the best position to know the 
real facts, we have been surprised to receive the most widely 
divergent statistics and information. 

64. Most of the producing concerns possess their own studio. 

Thirteen of these studios were inspected by 
""* the Coatee. They are comparatively 

simple attairs consisting or one or two areas 
walled with high screens and with a roof of glass or merely of 
framework, and with an arrangement of curtains for diffusing the 


Attached to these studios are in some cases rooms where the 
films are developed, printed, dried, titled, joined, etc., property 
rooms, and other adjuncts. As regards the cameras and printing 
machines we have not sufficient technical knowledge to pass an 
opinion. It is remarkable that only two or three of the producers 
employ arc lights. We were informed by Maclan Theatres, 
Limited, who propose to develop their studio on up-to-date lines, 
that they have ordered a quantity of the latest mechanical equip- 
ment. In some places there is a difficulty in obtaining sufficient 
voltage from the public supply. We were informed that this is 
the case both in Calcutta and Madras. Competent electricians are 
lacking. In one studio which we visited we found that although 
they had installed arc lights they had little or no knowledge of 
how to handle them and proposed to learn their use by experiment. 
In the West artificial lighting is regarded as indispensable for 
shooting both out-door and in-door scenes. In India a system of 
reflecting mirrors is employed to obtain the lighting effects which 
they require. But in our opinion the employment of arc lighting 
is essential for the progress of the industry. Not all of the com- 
panies develop and print their own pictures. Madan Theatres, 
Limited, for example, at least in some cases, send the negatives 
abroad for printing. We are very doubtful if the best 


can be obtained from the existing studio laboratories. We under- 
stand that developing is difficult in India in the hot weather; and 
the temperature of the developing room must be maintained at 
an even temperature of 60 Fahrenheit. Again dust must be 
rigorously excluded. Photographic experts have informed us that 
the printing of positives is the most difficult of the processes 
which the film must pass through between its exposure and its 
appearance in the market and that ordinarily in this country 
there is inadequate knowledge of this subject. Better results 
could certainly be obtained if well-equipped independent reliable 
laboratories with an expert staff were available to which the 
producers could send their films. 

G5. The technical staff consists essentially of a director, or 
directors, and camera-men. They lack train- 

in &' Eor tlle most P? rt the y seem to have 
picked up their experience. Very few have 

had any training in the West, and in such cases (as has already 
been remarked) it generally seems to have been of a desultory 
character. There is a tendency for one man in the studio to 
combine several functions, which, again, is probably due to the 
dearth of trained men. 

66. In the larger studios a permanent staff of actors and 

actresses is maintained, whose salaries range 
Actors and actresses. frQm ^ Q ^ Rg 3Q for ft ^^ to ^ ^ 

or Es. 800 for a "star." With a few exceptions (mostly in 
Bengal), the actors and actresses are not drawn from the cultured 
classes. The actresses are mainly recruited from the "dancing 
girl" class. Indian women of the better class do not take up 
film-acting as a profession. In the case of one film (the " Light 
of Asia") which was produced under special circumstances, some 
cultured Indian ladies took part. Owing to the difficulty of 
obtaining suitable Indian actresses some Anglo-Indian girls have 
adopted the profession and several of them play Indian parts 
with considerable success and are among the most popular 
"stars/' We came across Indian films in which male actors 
played female parts, though we have not heard of many such 
cases. We trust that this artistic atrocity will soon become 

There is no lack of theatrical talent in India but, generally 
speaking, it is not attracted to the profession of film-acting. This 
is partly due to the fact that a certain stigma is attached to the 
studios, owing to the social class of many of the women employed 
in them. In Bengal, however, several men of education and 
talent have taken up the profession. 

The majority of the actors and actresses have had no training 
in acting, whether for the stage or the film. Some of the leading 
film actors and actresses have acquired their art in the first instance 
by studying Western films. Film-acting is very different from 
stage acting, and we understand that the latter requires less train- 
ing and that a very great deal depends on the Director. We have 



been informed by a leading expert that the primary consideration 
in selecting a film actor or actress is to ascertain whether he or 
she has a "film face/ 5 and that in America various photographic 
tests are made for the purpose. These refinements are not as yet 
appreciated by the Indian producer. We may add, as a matter 
of interest, that the same expert informed us that the best " film- 
faces " were to be found in the Punjab. 

G7. In some cases the producers write their own scenarios. 

There are, however, a certain number of 

Scenarios. literary men and journalists who specialise 

in this art. It is understood that the best scenario-writer in 

Bombay is paid Rs. 1,300 for each scenario. Scenario-writing is 

also an art which requires training, and here also that training is 

lacking. We were particularly struck by the weakness of many 

of the scenarios. 

68. The pictures produced by these companies are mythologi- 
cal or religious, historical, and social dramas. 

There are two or three com P anies whicl1 
specialise in mythological films. The first 

films produced in India were of this character. These mythologi- 
cal films are less affected by provincial differences than the social 
dramas; they have an especial appeal for the uneducated people, 
and, if they are of good quality, they appeal to the deep-rooted 
religious instincts of all classes. The historical, or quasi-histori- 
cal, pictures and those which require such settings are taken in 
certain of the Indian States where facilities are obtained for 
" shooting " scenes in palaces and fortresses and also for the em- 
ployment of soldiers, horses, cannon, and other paraphernalia. In 
the social dramas there is frequently a tendency not only to bor- 
row plots and incidents from Wetsern novels, but also to imitate 
the Western films both in action and treatment. This kind 
of mimicry is not pleasing or successful. Though much can be 
learned from the Western films this sort of crude imitation is to 
be avoided. Indian pictures should be faithful to Indian life 
and should preserve its essential character. 

The above remarks apply mainly to the Bombay productions. 
In Bengal there is a tendency to produce a type of film having 
a more intellectual appeal, generally founded on well-known Ben- 
gali novels. This is a promising development and is clearly on 
the right lines. The vernacular literature of Bengal is of course 
peculiarly rich, and the Bombay producer has not the same lite- 
rary resources to draw upon. 

The commonest type of Burmese film is a kind of fairy-tale 
with a lavish indulgence in the supernatural and a variety of de- 
mons. Though novel and fantastic on first acquaintance these films 
are very stereotyped and the same sort of stories, incidents, and 
costumes are endlessly repeated. In the Burmese social dramas 
the mimicry of the West is particularly pronounced. 


69. Indian pictures are generally crude in comparison with 
Th .. Western pictures, and are defective in corn- 

pictures l y position, acting, and in every respect. They 

are defective both artistically and techni- 
cally. Plots and scenarios are indifferent and lack originality. 
The acting is apt to be wooden and inexpressive; scenes of strug- 
gle and fighting (which are profusely introduced to appeal to. tlie 
popular taste) are particularly weak. Episodes are long drawn- 
out, so that the action is slow, and the multiplicity of captions 
accentuates the slowness of the action. Generally the films are 
too long. There has been some improvement in the quality of 
the films, especially in the photography which is perhaps the best 
feature. But until the arc light is habitually employed the photo- 
graphy must remain definitely inferior to that of the Western 

The length of the Burmese films is altogether excessive and 
the action is correspondingly protracted. It appears that this is 
in accordance with the taste of the Burman public who like long 
films with an abundance of captions. The high percentage of 
literacy or semi-literacy in Burma probably accounts for the taste 
for captions. 

Of the popularity of Indian films we have already spoken. 

TO. As regards the output of the studios, there is, according 
to our information, one studio which has 
Outpu . an javerage output of fifteen pictures per 

annum. Of the others several (4 or 5) average twelve pictures a 
year each; another averages ten; and the rest four or five, some- 
times even fewer. They readily find a market for their produc- 
tions, and it has been seen that they generally deal direct with 
the exhibitor. Some account has already been given of the methods 
of distribution, and the system of percentage and fixed hire. 

71. On the average about three prints are said to be made of 

a picture. The life of a print seems to vary 
Prints. enormously. By members of the trade wtyo 

should be in a position to know the facts the life of a print Jjujg 
been variously stated as from 150 days to 3 years, shown daily. 
The former figure is probably nearer the mark. As the film ages 
it becomes scratched and worn and the sprocket holes wear out 
causing flickering. The life of the film naturally depends largely, 
on the care and skill of the operator and the condition of his 
projector. Many renters complained bitterly of the carelessness 
and indifference of many of the mofussil operators. 

72. Ordinarily the cost of production may be said to be 

Es. 15,000 to Es. 20,000, including overhead 

Financial aspects. d^ges. Some pictures are produced for 

Es. 5,000. In a few cases up to Es. 50,000 has been spent, and 

on one film intended for the international market the expenditure 

amounted to two lakhs. If the picture is of good box-office value 


the cost of production is recovered quite rapidly 'in Bombay and 
other key cities. Thereafter, the profit is obtained from the mofus- 
sil cinemas and comes in much more slowly. A good Bombay 
film will be shown for several weeks in Bombay and the whole 
cost of production may be recovered there; the weekly return re- 
ceived by the producer being anything from Es. 3,000 to Es. 5,000. 
Similar returns are not however obtainable in the other big cities, 
and the returns from the smaller mofussil cinemas are often not 
more than Es. 150 from each. Naturally, the profits vary; but 
there is no doubt that very large profits compared with the cost 
of production have been made on some of the more successful 
pictures; though, of course, the gross figures hardly bear compa- 
rison with the huge figures we hear of in the West. Instances 
have been given us of Indian films on which profits of several 
hundred per cent were made, but these are of course exceptional 
cases. In most cases there is a good margin of profit. The pro- 
ducers however are in many cases short of capital, and only too 
often have to wait for the profits on the previous picture before 
they can undertake the next. There has been a certain amount of 
evidence that the financial difficulties of the producers are due 
to the fact that they do not put back their profits into the busi- 
ness; and we believe that there is some truth in this criticism. 
Often, in order to find the money for the outlay on a picture the 
producers take loans from money-lenders at the usual high rates 
of interest. Sometimes (where they have their own distributor) 
they get an advance from the distributor at rates which vary ac- 
cording to their mutual relation K. The real difficulty is that in 
India there is no regular system for financing the producer. This 
is largely due to the absence of an organised distribution system. 
The producer cannot get advances from Banks, because he has 
not sufficient security to offer. Similarly he cannot get loans 
from Government under the Industrial Loans Act, in those pro- 
vinces in which such an Act exists, for the same reason. These 
Industrial Loans Acts are useless to the producer, because their 
requirements in regard to security are very drastic; and if he 
possessed such security as is demanded by these Acts he would 
have no difficulty in obtaining advances from Banks. Again 
capitalists are very shy of investing their money in this industry. 
It is, at first sight, difficult to understand why capitalists should 
be reluctant to invest in an industry which is distinctly profitable. 
The reason generally given to us is that there is a certain stigma 
attached to film-production owing to the necessity for the em- 
ployment of women of the " dancing girl " class. We are inclined 
to think however that the explanation, apart from the general 
apathy in this country towards industrial enterprises, and the 
general ignorance regarding the trade, is rather that the status 
and business-methods of the present producers do not command 
confidence. We are not suggesting any aspersion on the charac- 
ter of the producers; our suggestion is that they are untrained 
in business-methods. 


73. Another reason for the shyness of capital is that a number 
f < , . . . of producing concerns have failed in the 

failed. 06 P ast - One . of the first i* Bombay was the 

Oriental Films Co., with a foreign expert, 

which failed after producing one film. In Calcutta the Taj 
Mahal Co., the Indo-British, and the . Photoplay Syndicate 
failed; in Madras, Venkiah .Bros.; and there are other cases, 
The Great Eastern Corporation of Delhi have not produced any 
picture since the " Light of Asia " which, for reasons which are 
given elsewhere, has not so far been a financial success to them. 
In Mandalay, we heard of three producing companies which had 
been started there and failed; and in Eangoon there have been 
a number of mushroom companies. In other branches of the trade 
also there have been failures. It has already been mentioned 
that cinema houses .are constantly changing hands in the moffussil. 
The largest importers, K. D. Bros., failed in Bombay. Finally, 
the balance-sheet of the largest concern in the cinema-trade lias 
not been such as to inspire any considerable optimism, as it is 
only within the Hast two years that they have paid a dividend, 
though it should be remembered that they are expanding their 
business. We enquired into the causes of the failure of the 
particular producing enterprises, both from those who were con- 
cerned in them and from others who were in a position to know 
the facts. In every case we learned that failure had not been 
due to losses on the pictures produced; the pictures had been 
profitable; but it was due to other causes such as mismanagement, 
disagreement among the partners, speculation in other businesvS, 
and so on. 

The only instance in which foreign or non-Indian capital 
was employed which has come to our notice is a proposed film 
" Shiraz " which is in process of production in In^lia by a British 

74. There is no doubt whatever that the production of Indian 

films on the existing scale is a paying con- 
Production of Indian (>ern Although we have not had the 
films is profitable. advantage of inspecting the budgets and 

balance sheets of the producing concerns, the evidence which we 
have received has completely satisfied us on this point. A good 
Indian film is extremely profitable to the producer ; even an 
indifferent film generally yields a fair margin of profit. 

75. The production of Indian News and Topical films ordi- 

narily does not pay. We have heard the 

News and topical evidence of a number of people who have 

attempted to produce such films and who 

have found that, as far as the home market is concerned, the 
production of such films is not profitable. Madans alone have 
stated that they find the production of these films profitable, and, 
as has already been remarked, this is probably due to the fact 
that they have a large circuit in which they can exhibit them. 

There is therefore very little production of Indian News and 
Topical films. A few such films are however produced and sent 
to America, where they are embodied in Gazettes of news of the 
world. We had the evidence of one enterprising young man 
who makes his living by taking such films and sending them to 
America. The price paid is 2 dollars for each foot of News film 
accepted and 1 dollar 10 cents for each accepted foot of Topical 
(or Review) film. Only a small proportion, however, of the 
footage sent is accepted. The American dealers insist 'upon the 
negatives being sent undeveloped. Attempts to produce a Topical 
Indian Gazette have not been successful. 

76. In order to understand the present position and future 

prospects of the industry it is necessary to 
<*"?** % conditions favourable and 
unfavourable, under which it is working. 
Prvma facie it Would seem that with a population of 246 
millions (or, including the Indian States, 316 millions) of whom 
the great majority have a definite preference for Indian films 
(in so far as they have an opportunity of witnessing them) there 
should be a vast prospect before the industry. The production 
of Indian films however is hedged round with some special and 
peculiar limitations which have to be borne in mind. How far 
these limitations are permanent or how far they can be expected 
to pass away with lapse of time or through effort is also for 

77. Climatically India is suited for film-production. There 

is an abundance of sunshine, though from 
Climatic and other about 9 a m to 3 the uct i n i c va } ue O f 

favourable conditions. n i* i . f> \ t A i i 

the light is low. It must not however be 

forgotten that in any country artificial lighting is required in 
order to obtain 'the best results. In any case in the hot weather 
it would scarcely be practicable to shoot scenes in the open during 
these hours. During the rainy season out-door work ordinarily 
ceases, while the studios, as they exist at present, are not suffi- 
ciently weather-proof for in-door work. 

In the hot weather developing is difficult and cannot be 
properly done in the plains without a special foron of laboratoiy 
with' an arrangement for maintaining the temperature at 60 F. 
Without such equipment a laboratory in the Hills is requisite. 

India is well-supplied within her borders with every variety 
of natural scenery, including scenery of a grandeur and beauty 
scarcely to be surpassed in the world. She possesses an abundance 
of ancient palaces, fortresses and temples and provides ready- 
made the most picturesque Oriental settings streets, markets, 
crowds and so -on which can only be reproduced artificially in 
the West at enormous cost. Also almost every Oriental type of 
humanity is to be found. Pictures of Eastern life and pageantry 
could, in fact, be produced in India at a trifling cost compared 
with the cost in the West. 

The cost of production is extremely low in India. The cost 
of producing a picture in India it only & fraction of the cost of 
producing a picture in England and the cost of production in 
England is considerably less than in America. In India labour 
is cheap; and the salaries of actors and acti esses, even of "stars", 
are relatively veiy small. Moreover, to appeal to the mass of 
the population elaborate production is not required; nor is a high 
standard of art or technique necessary. 

78. But the first and main obstacle to any great increase of 
output of Indian films is tr*e limited market. 

The limited market i n sp it e of a population of 246 millions, the 

li'a Travail! farket for Indian films is limited It is 

able). limited because in the whole of British 

India there are only about 300 cinema 

houses and there is practically no outside market, except in the 
Indian States where there are 60 cinema houses. The limited 
number of cinemas is due to the fact that th& bulk of the people 
oan only pay small admission fees and cannot afford to visit the 
unema frequently. The result is that a cinema can pay only 
where there is a large aggregation of people. It has been stated 
that a cinema does not pay except in a town with a population 
of at least 50,000 people. This is not correct. There are suc- 
cessful cinemas in many such towns. But often (where there is 
a lesser population) it isi a place where there is a large student 
or industrial population or which is a centre of resort. The 
number of towns in India with a population of 50,000 or over is 
86. Even however if 20,000 is taken as the minimum required, 
there are only 282 towns with a population of or exceeding that 

The above figures include the Indian States but exclude 
Burma. In Burma tliere are 8 towns with a population of 
20,000 or above, and only 3 with a population of 50,000 or moie. 

Of the 300 cinemas there are about 100 which cater ex- 
clusively for Europeans and educated Indian audiences. These 
cinemas show only Western films and there will be no opportu- 
nity for Indian films there until Indian production has progressed 
very considerably in quality. And even then the preference will 
be generally for Western films. Further Indian films can be 
shown in very few of the 58 cinemas in Burma. 

Then again it has to be remembered that -an appreciable 
number of the cinemas are concentrated in th e big cities. The 
same film cannot be shown in more than one or two (at most 3) 
of the cinemas in such a city; and this further reduces the 
number of available cinemas. 

Then there is the fact that 85 cinema houses are controlled 
by one company (Madan's) who in so far as they show Indian 
films naturally prefer to show their own productions, so that the 
opportunities for Indian films produced by others is small in 
that circuit. The result is that there is at present not a large 
putlet for Indian films. 


79. A further limitation is due to provincial differences. The 

. class of people for whom Indian films are 

(pLSf ^dS produced and to whom they appeal are, 

ences). generally speaking, not familiar with the 

(tress and customs of other provinces. Thus a 

film of Bengali life will appeal to the Bengali but is not much 
appreciated by the uneducated in Madras, and still less on the 
Bombay side. This difficulty is sometimes exaggerated, but it is 
nevertheless a real one. Bombay films are shown in Peshawar, 
Lahore, Lucknow, Calcutta, Madras, Nagpur, Rangoon and 
Mandalay. Some of them are of general appeal, e.g., mythologi- 
cal or from the "Arabian Nights, " but films of Bombay social life 
are also being shown in many places. It is in fact not true to say that 
a film depicting life on the Bombay side has no appeal elsewhere. 
It does draw audiences but to a much smaller extent. Bengal 
is perhaps especially affected by provincial differences. A film of 
Bengali life has little or no appeal outside Bengal except where 
there is a strong Bengali element in the population. Similarly, a 
film of social life in Bombay or Madras has practically no appeal 
in Bengal. 

Strictly speaking, the divergence of taste is not so much pro- 
vincial as cultural. It is not exactly a question of provincial 
boundaries. In the south of India, for example, the Deccanese 
or Mahratta mode of life has a distinct appeal; and the Bombay 
pictures reproduce this mode. 

Burmese pictures have 110 attraction for Indians, nor Indian 
films 'for Burmans. Burmese pictures have hot however been 
tried in India. In Burma, Burmese, Indian, Chinese and West- 
ern films are exhibited. The Burmese films are attended only by 
Bui mans, the Indian by Indians, and the Chinese by Chinamen, 
though the Western films are popular with all communities. 

For the present this limitation will continue to be an obstacle 
so far as the social dramas are concerned. But eventually, as the 
cinema-going population becomes familiarised with scenes of life 
in other provinces, it is likely that this narrow outlook will be 
broadened, i.e., if it is a good film it will draw in spue of provin- 
cial differences, though no doubt there will always be a tendency 
for audiences to prefer social dramas of the life of their own pro- 
vinces. It has been seen that the difficulty can be evaded by 
producing films of general appeal. There are many Oriental 
stories which lend themselves to such treatment and there is a 
wide field here which has not been sufficiently explored. 

80. There is another limitation in that films which appeal to 

,. . A A . Hindus frequently have no appeal to Mus- 

Another limitation. r 1 

mythlogical film 

which is very popular with Hindus does not draw any Muslim 
audience. Generally Muslims prefer films cf their own social life, 
and, failing these, Western films. 

81. There is a certain output in Bombay of films which may 
be called ' historical ' (though the history is 
to' hSricaP 8 met * fictitious) depicting life in olden 
days in Raiputana. These are very stereo- 
typed and unconvincing. Indian history is 
rich in romantic stories very suitable for presentment on tho film, 


and there is a vast field here. That it has not been drawn upon 
more is due no doubt partly to lack of financial resources on the 
part of the producers and partly to the dearth of cultured scenario- 
writers; but there is another factor which has to be recognised. 
This is the difficulty of producing a histoiical film which will not 
give offence to some section of the community. A film depict- 
in^ any of the struggles between the Hindus and Muslims is very 
liable to give offence. Similarly, there is a difficulty in presenting 
the exploits of the Mahrattas. Such filmr'as " Veer Durgadas 5I 
and " Shivaji " had to be stopped. This difficulty accounts for 
the resort to fictitious history. 

82. Again, Muslim opinion is particularly sensitive in certain 

o i A-ffi u- directions regarding the presentation of his- 

Special difficulties aji , i i , rni_ ^ -n i i i, 

regards Muslims. toncal oharaoteis. This matter will be dealt 

with more fully under the head of cen- 
sorship. It may merely be noted here that objection is apt to be 
raised J>y certain sections of Muslims io the presentation of famous 
Muslim characters in other than a favourable light, even when 
the facts are historically correct, e.g., Jehangir "drinking wine; 
there is also an objection 1o the representation of famous Muham- 
madan women as not observing purdah; and a further objection to 
any representation whatsoever of persons venerated as holy by Islam. 
We are not now discussing how far such objections have 
the support of the general body of the Muslims or imputing any 
blame. But the fact remains that such objections are marie and 
recognised and are an obstacle to the producer. 

83. The producer as yet has not been successful in producing a 

General limitation. ^P e of , film whidl ha B much appeal for the 
educated classes. It is easier for him to 

draw uneducated audiences. He has to cater more for the 
taste and intelligence of uneducated audiences; and stories, sub- 
ject and treatment have been adapted to that end. 

84. Then again there is the language difficulty. An Indian 

The language diffi- fil has litfl . e <' ha ^e of success unless the 
culty. captions are m the veinacular of the area in 

filma d * * i Whic ^ {i is flhown - Jt is triie that Western 

Inr \ * Mr? ve acular ^Ptions and are nevertheless popu- 
lar; but the Western film appeals fcr different reasons. An Indian 
mm is expected to have captions in a familiar vernacular It is 
m fact one reason why the Indian film is preferred in spite of its 

Z d ^l*- Jt is true that a Liderable 
proportion of the audience are illiterate even in their own verna- 
cular; but the custom is for those who can read to repeat the cap- 
tion aloud for the benefit of the others. The confused murmur 
which greets the appearance of the caption on the screen and 
which is the result of this custom must be familiar to those who 
frequent Indian cinemas. The caption therefore must be in a 
known vernacular. There are innumerable vernaculars in India 
The mam vernaculars however are Hindi, Urdu, Bengali G u j a ' 
rati, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. A producer who wishes to'exhibit 




his film throughout India must have each caption in three or 
fofrr of these vernaculars as well as in English. To some extent 
the difficulty is met by making different copies for diffeient parts 
of the country. But the captions are ordinarily in three or four 
languages, and we have seen instances where there were as many 
as six. This involves additional expense and lengthens the film 
as well as detracting from its appeal. This is inevitable as there 
is no lingua franca for all India. The only solution would be to 
have an interpreter. It was only in Malabar that we heard of 
the existence of such interpreters or demonstrators. In one pro- 
vince we were told that it had been tried but was not 'successful, 
as the audience found the demonstrators a hindrance rather than 
an assistance. The ingenuity of Indian producers will possibly 
tend to devise films which require a minimum of captions. A 
German film (" The Last Laugh ") was produced without any 
captions, but we understand that it was not a success although it 
was a very fine film. 

85. The difficulty that Indian film-actresses of a suitable type 

are not obtainable has been mentioned. 
The difficulty of This j fi ft real } iall( jicap to the producer, 
obtaining actresses. ., , ., T , r ., . ,, r 1 ./ E lx 

though it has been t-een that the difficulty 

has been overcome to some extent by the employment of Anglo- 
Indian actresses. 

86. The difficulty of obtaining finance, of inducing capitalists 

. .,,.,, to invest their money in this industry, has 

F,*anc,al difficulty. ^ Wn mentione(1 / 

87. It has already been stated that the outlet for the Indian 

- , film is confined to the home market. The 

class of films produced in India to-day have 

practically no prospect of a market in Europe or America. The 
few attempts which have been made in the past to exhibit Indian 
films in Europe did, not yield very promising results; though we 
have seen one film ("Sacrifice"), one of the latest and most 
ambitious of Indian productions, a film of considerable artistic 
merit, which we think might well be acceptable in the West; but 
this film is an exception. A few Indian films find a market 
abroad in places where there is an Indian population such as 
Ceylon, and East and South Africa. Our information is that there 
are prospects for Indian films in Malaya, the Straits Settlements, 
and Fiji; but up to now these markets have hardly been exploited 
although there have been some business negotiations. While 
therefore there seems some prospect for Indian films in those 
countries where there is an Indian population, the prospect of 
obtaining a footing in the Western markets is more remote and 
must be dependent on a definite improvement in quality as well 
as on the production of films specially adapted to Western tastes; 
for the sort of film which would be popular in India would 
probably not appeal in the West, 

88. Before concluding this brief survey of the trade and industry, 

there is one question with which it is neces- 
Com Pj a j l nts , r ^ ard ; sary to deal separately, as it is concerned 
monopoly. alike with Exhibition, Distribution and Pro- 

duction. There have been complaints from 

some members of the Trade against Madan Theatres, Limited. 
There have been allegations that they have acquired or are attempt- 
ing to acquire a "monopoly " and that their activities are injurious 
to the rest of the Trade and against the public interest. Madan 
Theatres, Limited, are a big company largely interested in the 
Theatrical and Amusement Trade generally as well as in cinemas. 
They are producers, importers, distributors and exhibitors of films; 
and they have an extensive circuit comprising 65 cinemas under 
their direct control and over 20 in association. 

Smaller concerns are certain to suffer in competition with such 
a formidable trade riVal, and therefore some complaints are to be 
expected. These complaints are however of such a nature that it 
is necessary to give them due consideration. The main complaints 
against Madan' s are : 

(1) that they have a monopoly of the supply of pictures, i.e., 
that they obtain all the best pictures from America, and that 
others can only get what is left ; 

(2) that they are acquiring a monopoly of exhibition in the 
key-cities by buying up the theatres and are therefore killing 
competition; and are (a) pushing out other exhibitors from the 
lucrative key-cities and (6) preventing producers from getting 
their pictures shown in these lucrative key-cities ; 

(3) that they are injuring the Indian producer because, 
when they show an Indian picture in their large circuit, they only 
show their own ; and 

(4) that they adopt unfair methods of competition. 

89. As regards (1) it is true that Madan's obtain the cream of 

the market, particularly of the American 

-That they have a market, in the way of the super-films and 

monopoly of the supply t]ie wor ld-famous productions, such as " The 

ot pictuies. Thief of Baghdftd ^ Ben _ Hllr >^ Beau 

Geste", "Variety" and "Chang." With their large resources, 
extensive circuit and great experience they are naturally in a 
position to outbid their rivals for tjie world's super-productions. 
Any suggestion that they are establishing a corner in the supply 
of films is of course preposterous. There is a plentiful supply of 
first-class films available in America; and, in addition, there is 
the world-market open to their competitors. Madan's operations 
in this connection are in no way different from those which ure 
followed in every trade; and the same position commonly arises 
in all forms of business. It does not seem to us that this com- 
plaint discloses any ground for interference in what is after all 
an ordinary feature of business competition. There is nothing 
here which is remarkable or which is unfair, or which calls for 
any interference. 

90. As regards (2) the position is that in Bombay Madan's 

control 7 out of 20 cinemas. They ovtti 4 

That they are and 3 others are in association with them. 

acquiring monopoly of In Calcutta 12 out of 14 cinemas are 

exhibition in key- , n , , ., T T xi_ 

cities, controlled by them. In Rangoon they 

have 6 out of 9. In Calcutta and Rangoon, 

therefore, although they have not a monopoly, there is a tendency 
towards monopoly. This is clearly disadvantageous to their trade 
rivals, as it is in these key-cities that the returns are largest. 
It is not however apparent that there is as yet any disadvantage 
to the public. If Madan's or any other company were to obtain 
a monopoly of exhibition in any of the key-cities it is suggested 
that they might put up their prices and provide inferior films. 
Should this happen, we believe that the public would not attend; 
moreover such a course would immediately invite competition. 
We should not contemplate with equanimity the passing of all 
the cinemas in a big city into the hands of one company; and 
in Calcutta this position has very nearly been reached. Healthy 
competition its certainly in the best interest of the public. But 
as things are at present we do not believe that the interests of 
the public are suffering. It is legitimate for Madan Theatres to 
extend their business. It is very difficult and extremely inadvi- 
sable to interfere by legislation in a matter of this kind, and to 
place restrictions on the growth of business. We shoud be reluc- 
tant to propose any such legislation except on the strongest 
grounds. Regarding the matter from the point of view of the 
public there is certainly no ground for such a proposal; from the 
point of view of the trade, whether rival exhibitors or Indian 
producers, we realise their difficulty; but we do not consider that 
this is a matter in which we can justifiably recommend legisla- 
tion. The proposal has been made to us that it should be declared 
unlawful for any one concern to own or control more than a 
certain percentage of the cinema-houses in one locality. Apart 
from the inadvisability of such an interference with trade we 
believe that it would be impracticable to enforce and that such 
a restriction in practice would be evaded. Moreover, the trade is 
still in its infancy and it will be unwise to check its growth bj 
legislative limitations. 

91. As regards (3) a large proportion of the cinema-liousos 
controlled by Madan 's are "Western cine- 

. .-That they are Th control many of the best 

injuring the Indian > j 

producer. cinemas throughout India, which are cater- 

ing for the taste of Europeans and educated 

Indians. They therefore reqiiire to show a large proportion of 
Western films. They themselves are producers of Indian films 
and have produced 61 in the last 7 years an output which is 
likely to be increased' in the near future. It is natural that when 
they exhibit Indian films they should prefer to exhibit their own 
films. It is not fact that they entirely exclude the productions 
of other Indian companies; they hire a certain number of them, 
but not a large number. We have obtained particulars of the 


films which they have hired. Certainly it is a disadvantage to 
other producers that their productions are largely debarred from 
access to this large circuit which includes many of the most 
lucrative centres; but this circuit comprises less than one-third 
of the cinema houses in India; and unquestionably Madau 
Theatres are entitled to show their own productions in their own 
circuit. The other producers do not seem to realise that they 
cannot expect to get the same percentage from a well-organized 
circuit as from stray independent exhibitors. Here again there 
does not seem to us sufficient ground for interference. 

92. As regards (4) we have made some enquiry into the speci- 

fic charges under this head which i elate 
--That they adopt ma i u ly to a particular instance of the lease 
unfair methods or,,* 7 . . iijxi 

competition. * a cinema-house at a price alleged to be 

unreasonably high and unfair to competi- 
tors. In trade competition of this sort the big concern with the 
large resources will always be in a position to outbid its rivals. 
This is inevitable in business, and we have found no reason to 
believe that Madan Theatres, Ltd., have adopted other than 
legitimate methods of business in these matters. At the name 
time we are not satisfied that Madan's ar.e alive to the truth of 
the maxim " Live and let live" or that they realise that cut- 
throat competition is definitely harmful to the healthy expansion 
of the trade. 

93. Having concluded this brief survey of the Trade and 
Summary Industry, a survey necessarily somewhat 

inadequate based as it is on data not easily 

ascertainable with exactitude and frequently incomplete, ami 
rendered more difficult, by the undeveloped state of the industry 
and the consequent lack of uniformity in its methods, we proceed 
to summarise in the case of each branch what appear to us to 
be the main defects and difficulties which call for special attention. 

94. While exhibition in larger towns and in those smaller 
Exhibition towns where there is a considerable popula- 
tion of students or of the industrial labouring 

classes may be said, generally speaking, to be a paying concern, 
many of the mofussil exhibitors are labouring under great diffi- 
culties and are having a hard fight for existence. This is partly 
due to the poverty of the bulk of the population who are unwilling, 
and generally unable, to pay the price of admission; and partly 
also to the fact that the cinema habit is insufficiently developed. 
In some cases failure is due to inexperience. Very often however 
the mofussil exhibitor cannot afford to own his cinema-house and 
is handicapped by the heavy and disproportionate rent which he 
is compelled to pay. Again, with the two exceptions that we 
have mentioned, there is a notable absence of the circuit-system; 
exhibitors do not combine to form circuits. Further, exhibitors 
are insufficiently organised for mutual exchange of information 
and to safeguard their common interests; there is an absence of 
exhibitors' associations of any importance. 


The entertainment tax, where it exists, is a distinct handicap 
to the exhibitor when it is imposed on the cheaper seats. 

95. At present, the travelling cinema is a poor and struggling 

... . concern. As the cinema-habit spreads it is 

Travelling cinemas. ,.. . .. , ,. . . r , , n 

likely that the travelling cinema system will 

develop. Even now, we are not satisfied that they could not 
improve their business by investing in better pictures and better 
equipment; but the main obstacle is the fundamental fact of the 
poverty of the people which we have already mentioned. They 
are however definitely handicapped by the amount which they 
have to pay in license fees. 

96. The distribution of Indian films is not sufficiently organised. 

,^. ., . The system, prevailing abroad, under which 

Distribution. ,, 3 - , -i , r ,1 n ,, 

the distributor normally finances the pro- 
ducer, has not yet developed in this country; though it exists to u 
small extent in a rudimentary form, as some of the producers have 
their own distributors who have made advances to them. The 
fact is of iinpo<rtance in connection with the financial aspect of 

Although block and blind booking- are practised to some* 
extent in this country it cannot be said that this is an evil which 
requires remedy, it is a business arrangement between the dis- 
tributor and the exhibitor, which is of some convenience to both. 
It is convenient for the distributor because it enables him to 
dispose of his whole supply of pictures; it is convenient for tue 
exhibitor because he obtains his pictures cheaper. If the exhi- 
bitor wishes to select particular pictures he can, in many cases, 
do so but he must pay more for them. The disadvantage of 
the system is that the exhibitor is sometimes compelled to accept 
inferior pictures. Interference with the system would certainly 
be prejudicial to the trade as a whole at this stage. We have 
had a few complaints from exhibitors, but in general the Trade 
seenis satisfied with the system. Neither from the point of view 
of the Trade, nor of the public interest do we consider that there 
is sufficient ground for interference in this matter. The condi- 
tions which existed in the United Kingdom in regard to block- 
booking and which necessitated the recently passed Cinemato- 
graph Act, which is mainly directed against block-booking, are 
absent in this country. In England an outlet for British films 
co-uld not be found because the exhibitors were completely booked 
up far in advance with American films. In India, however, 
there is no such state of affairs, and any suitable film available 
at a suitable price can find a market. 

97. Although we have been iinpress-ed by the progress made in 

the productipn of Indian films in the last 
Production. ew vearg ^ we have been even more impressed 

by the necessity for improvement in the quality of the films pro- 
duced if that progress is to continue. It is very desirable that 


more Indian films should be produced; and indeed the demand is 
greater than the supply. But unless the quality is improved, the 
demand will diminish, and there is little hope of future expansion. 
Already we have observed indications of a falling-off in the demand 
for Indian films. Some cinemas (in Madras, for example) have 
reverted from Indian to Western films. The novelty of the Indian 
film has worn off; and many of the present productions are not 
suitable as they have not an all-India appeal. There is urgent 
need for improvement in the siibject or story, in the scenario, in 
the acting, in the technique, in the photography, in fact, in all 
respects. Although there has been some improvement, especially 
in photography, the Indian film will not progress unless consider- 
able improvement in quality is effected. Such improvement can 
only be effected by the better training of all concerned scenario- 
writers, directors, camera-men, laboratory men, electricians, actors 
and actresses. Such training is not available in India, and can only 
be achieved either by importing experts from abroad or by sending 
Indians abroad for training. 

It is essential that the whole level of production should be 
raised. This means that men of culture must come forward and 
take up this profession. There is no reason why they should not 
come forward. This is an art worthy of the attention of cultured 
men. Moreover they will be doing national work, by propagating 
Indian ideas and ideals and interpreting Indian literature, history 
and traditions. Also, it is profitable : there have been many ins- 
tances of successful Indian films which have been extremely 
lucrative. But it is not merely as producers that cultured people 
are required ; educated men and women must be induced to act for 
the film. At present tltere is a sort of stigma attached to film- 
acting, because the actresses (and to a less extent the actors) are 
generally not drawn from the respectable classes. The whole 
tone of the studios must be raised. 

Another of the main difficulties of the producer is finance. 
Capital ]\s not forthcoming; capatalists are shy of investing their 
money in this industry. This is partly due to the stigma which, 
as we have mentioned, is attached to the studios, partly to the fact 
that the present producers do not command confidence, and partly 
to the failures which have occurred. Capitalists are not satisfied 
that this industry is a good jinvgsiment. The resiilt is that many 
producers have to wait for the returns on their previous pictures 
before they can afford the outlay on a new picture. The funda- 
mental ojjstaclj^jhor^^ the expansion of the in- 
dustry is the limited ho^imTnu^^ ami afpresent Indian produc- 
tions are practically confined to the home market. The number 
of cinemas in India is small, and it has been seen that about one- 
third of these confine themselves to Western films. The remaining 
cinemas could with profit show a much larger proportion of Indian 
films, if suitable films at reasonable prices were available. A better 
class of film is not produced because the producer is short of 


finance. His main object is to get a quick return on his outlay; 
he knows that by producing a certain type of cheap film appealing 
to the uneducated classes, he can get the return which he wants. 
There is therefore a kind of vicious circle here; the exhibitor does 
not get enough suitable Indian films because the producer does not 
produce them; the producer does not produce them because he is 
short of finance; if he produced a better type of film he would get 
a better return; but he does not do so because he is short of finance. 
It is not however entirely a question of finance, it is a question of 
imagination, of enterprise, and of culture. There are also the 
difficulties alluded to in the chapter on Censorship. 

The producers are insufficiently organised. There is a lack of 
Trade associations of sufficient authority, and connected with this 
is the question of information. There is a remarkable dearth of 
statistical and other reliable information regarding the trade. 
Without better oiganisation and better information, there is little 
hope of progress. 

In Chapter III will be explained our key proposals for the 
assistance of the industry and in Chapter IV will be given our 
detailed recommendations regarding each branch. 


98. We now come to the most important and constructive of 
our proposals-. In the concluding portion of 

The necessity for a t ] le i ast chapter we have emphasised the maiu 
central organisation. j > . i ji u. * L x j 

defects and difficulties of the cinema trade 

and industry in this country. We have already dwelt upon the 
importance of the cinema both to the people and to the Govern- 
ment. We are convinced that if the trade and especially the 
film-producing industry are to develop, and to develop on sound 
lines, it is essential that there should be some central organisation 
to guide, assist, and control. The defects which we have specified 
cannot be remedied nor the difficulties surmounted without a strong 
and combined effort. Co-ordinated and organised effort on the 
part of those engaged in the cinema trade and industry is most 
needed, but at the present stage there is little hope of success in 
this direction without some external guidance and assistance. We 
have spoken of the urgent need for training, especially technical 
training, in the producing industry in this country; and such 
training can be given only by experts. There is little prospect of 
the producers obtaining such exp.erts unless some special provision 
is made for the purpose. We have referred to the necessity for 
full and up-to-date information regarding cinema conditions and 
activities both in India and abroad ; some arrangement is required 
for the systematic collection and distribution of such information. 
We have therefore come to the conclusion that until the trade and 
industry are sufficiently organised there should be a Cinema Depart- 
ment, or Central Cinema Bureau, attached to the Government of 
India, and we now proceed to consider in detail the grounds for 
the establishment of such a Bureau and the functions which it 
should perform. 

99. There is an almost entire absence of that statistical and 
other material dealing with the conditions 

Lack of statistical of the fi i m i nc i us try in this country which 
and other materials. . f J , T 

is so necessary tor a proper understanding 

of the real position of the trade and the best methods for improving 
it. Our enquiries have shown conclusively that the film-producing 
industry in this country needs to be brought closely and con- 
tinuously into contact with the progress of th.e industry in Western 
countries, that some satisfactory means must be found of applying 
the lessons taught by the experience of those countries, and that 
it is highly necessary to make arrangements for the collection and 
distribution of all sorts of materials- and information which wiJJ 
be useful to the cinema industry in 1 India. 



100. We have been very, strongly impressed with certain 
evidence which has been given to us- on the 

The need for films subject of the lack of appeal of films 
with a national or produced in one part of this country when 
general appeal. ^^ in other ^ m haye 

reason to believe that there is some danger that the film-producing 
concerns in different parts of India may tend to produce films of 
purely local or regional appeal. Such a development as this is to 
be deprecated on every ground and we are anxious not only to lay 
stress on this danger, but if possible to devise means to avoid it. 
We regard it as of the very highest importance that Indian film 
producers should be encouraged and assisted 1o turn out films of 
a truly national character and wherever possible with a universal 

10L We are satisfied that at present the producing industry 
in this country is not in a position either to 

The need for foreign aya ^ i lse jf () f alu ] app l y to its own conditions 
expert assistance. . ,,. . ,11, r>,i 

in this country the results ot the experience 

of Western countries in film-making, or to avoid the serious danger 
which we have pointed out above. It has neither the capital 
resources, the banking facilities, the knowledge, nor the personnel 
required for these purposes. We have heard much evidence as to 
the desirability of importing foreign experts or sending Indian 
youths abroad to acquire expert knowledge in all branchevS of the 
industry, and we agree that for some time to come foreign assistance 
and training will be necessary. 

102. For a variety of reasons, chiefly the unorganised character 
of the industry, the precarious or insufficient 

aginoy requlS" 110 "* finan( f ihe sma11 Producers who at 
present compose the greater part of the 

producing side of the industry, and, also, the fact that satisfactory 
profits are undoubtedly being made by the present inefficient and 
uneconomic methods of production, we realise that it would be 
nothing more than a pious aspiration if we asked the producers- 
themselves to take the steps which are necessary to improve the 
technique, quantity and quality generally of their work. To effect 
the necessary improvements involves a considerable increase of 
expenditure on production. We have been strongly impressed in 
our enquiry by the fact that owing to the present limited home- 
market it does not ordinarily pay the producer to increase to any 
great extent his production-cost. If he spent much more on a 
picture he could not hope to get a sufficient return to bring in a 
profit. Moreover, it is not only technique and quality which must 
be improved ; it is the whole organisation of the producing- 
industry its financing, business-management, scale of production, 
distribution and so forth. The present small producers are living 
on the edge of a precipice. The formation of a strong, well- 
financed public company for the production of films would drive 
most, if not all, of them out of business. It is, therefore, clear 


that some agency or body independent of the present producers 
will have to perform these services for them until the trade is 
sufficiently organised to help its-elf. 

103. It is just as clear that this agency will have to be brought 
into existence by the Government, and, 

" 1011 * f B S ain ' for its first y eare ke Pt in bein g attd 


controlled 'also by the Government. The 

question arises as to the appropriate governmental authority for 
this work. The provincial authority suggests itself naturally in 
the first place, since the development of industries is a provincial 
subject, but we may say at once that we do not propose to leave 
this to the provinces. Every characteristic of the cinema industry 
makes it unsuitable for proviiicialisation. It differs completely and 
in essence from the cottage or smaller factory industries which are 
the proper objects of' provincial assistance. The services which 
we contemplate must be on a national scale, if for no other reason 
than this that no one province could provide the necessary resources. 
to curry out these services. Further, substantial results can be 
achieved only with the co-operation and assistance of all Provincial 
Governments and Indian States also. Moreover, the independent 
entry of the provinces into this field would mean much reduplicated 
and uneconomic effort. The Central Government is, therefore, 
obviously indicated and we must now consider the agency through 
which the services contemplated shall be rendered, the exact kind 
of services to be rendered, details of organisation, finance and so 

104. We have already seen that the film industry in this country 

needs (a) assistance and tuition in the purely 
nesl eC udvice ^ bUSi " technical side of its work, that is, in the 

production of better films, and (6) advice 

and guidance in business organisation generally, including finance, 
company promotion, preferably by amalgamation of existing pro- 
ducing concerns, marketing primarily in India, but without 
overlooking the foreign market co-operation, if necessary, for the 
purchase or supply of raw material, accessories, properties, and 
so on. In particular, the possibility of extending the home exhi- 
bition market by the building of new cinema theatres, where this 
would be commercially sound, should not be ignored. New ground 
might be broken by the collection and distribution to the industry 
of useful and relevant information received from Indian Trade 
Agents, when these are appointed, and from British Consuls in 
various parts of the world. 

105. As regards (a), the services of experts in the various 

_ . . . , technical sides of production must be secured. 

Technical experts. ^^ ^^ ghould be ^ down ^ & 

minimum, and, as a working basis, we propose the following: A 
director of film production, a camera man, a printing and deve- 
loping expert and an electrician. Nearly all the experts will 
probably have to be foreigners at first, but this could be decided 
after receipt of replies to advertisements in Indian and foreign 


newspapers. The term of contract in all cases should be for three 
years, with the option of renewal at the discretion of Government. 

106. As regards (6), other considerations must be taken into 

account since the problems which arise are 

An Advisory Committee. primarily pro bl e ms for business and financial 
men. The technical experts can do no more than place their 
technical knowledge at the disposal of a body which shall be 
competent to advise the industry on its business side. This shall 
be the function of an Advisory Committee to be composed mostly 
of non-officials, including business men and members of the cinema 
trade, and partly of officials of the Government of India and the 
Provincial Governments. It is not intended that this body shall 
undertake the day-to-day work which will be involved, but that 
it shall work through a permanent Secretary of approved qualifi- 
cations who shall be under the general control of the Committee 
and whose actions shall be subject to the approval of the Committee 
at its periodical meetings, which should be not less than four per 
annum. The Bureau shall consist of the Secretary as its head 
and the experts employed. 

107. The Committee should consist of not more than 14 members, 

of whom 8, including the Chairman, shall 

Composition and ] )e non-ofh'cials and the remaining 6 officials. 
Coimniitee * We recommend that the Chairman and the 

majority of the members should normally be 

Indians. Of the oliicials, three will be chosen to represent the 
provinces and three will represent the departments concerned of the 
Government of India. Appointments to the Committee shall be 
by nomination by the Governor-General. It vshall be open to the 
Committee to consult, whenever necessary, with representatives of 
Government Departments, both Central and Provincial. In select- 
ing no ti -officials for the Advisory Committee care should be taken 
to distribute the membership, as far as possible, between the 
different communities, with due regard to the various interests 
business, literary, scientific and other whose co-operation will be 

108. The technical officers will be available to advise the 

industry in their own subjects, but whether 
rat & oi U y dl and ^ tke y sha11 themselves operate a studio or 

studios must be left for later decision by the 

Advisory Committee after investigation by the experts chosen. 
But in any event we think it likely that the Bureau will have to 
pioneer a printing and developing industry in this country, which 
might be handed over later on to private enterprise. 

109. The Secretary will be the mainspring of the Bureau's 
The Secretary. activities, for it will be his task to bring 

ihe industry and the experts together 

and to collect and distribute the information of all kinds which 
will be required by producers and exhibitors alike. His duties 
in this regard wiHl be comprehensive since the Bureau is exepected 
and meant to become a clearing house of information and technical 


assistance for the cinema industry generally in this country. 
All concerned in the trade will be under statutory obligation to 
furnish him with whatever statistics and information he requires, 
so that he and the Committee may be thoroughly conversant with 
all the conditions qf the industry. As we have already indicated, 
he will be expected to collect from Indian Trade Agents and 
British Consular officers abroad all information likely to be of 
value to the cinema industry here, and this information he will 
make available to those concerned. 

110. The Secretary will maintain a library of films of sound 

. .. -._ educational merit, both imported and pro- 

A film library. 1 i T T x i i -i * i 3-1- 

(tuced in India, to be exhibited on conditions 

to be later laid down by the Bureau arid the Advisory Committee. 
Elsewhere in this report we make certain suggestions for the inter- 
change of films of educational value between India and the 
different States of the British Commonwealth and other countries. 
There will soon be established under the auspices of the League 
of Nations an International Institute of the Educational Cinema. 
The Bureau and the Committee should be the agents of the Govern- 
ment of India for this purpose. We regard the establishment of 
this library as being of great importance. In other countries 
educational films of high value have been prepared and are avail- 
able, but cannot be shown in this country in the ordinary way 
since their exhibition is not a commercial proposition. It is, how- 
ever, highly desirable that students and others in this country 
should have access to such films and therefore we suggest that 
the Central Bureau should stock a representative selection of them 
and should distribute them to exhibitors on terms to be decided 
later on. Elsewhere in this report we recommend the compulsory 
exhibition of a certain footage of educational films which we expect 
will prove an extra encouragement to the production of such films 
in India and will also be of help to the development of the industry. 
This recommendation would impose a burdensome obligation on 
exhibitors who would not be able to procure the necessary amount 
or kind of films unless aided in the manner we propose by the 
Central Bureau. 

111. Lastly, the Secretary will see that due publicity is given 

to the productions and developments generally 
u lcl y * of the industry in this country, preferably 

through the medium of the Indian Trade Journal in the first 
instance. Probably it will be possible in a short time for the 
B \ireau to publish a journal of its own, which should pay through 
advertisements . 

112. An important part of the Bureau's functions will be the 

. . registration of films produced in and imported 

Registration. j^ ^ cmmtry We visua l ise f our main 

registers : 

(1) There will be a general register of all producers, exhibitors 
and distributors. Every person who wishes to take part in the 
trade in any of these capacities must come on to the register and 


be licensed. The film which he produces, distributes or rents for 
exhibition will be registered and this, coupled with out; specific 
recommendations regarding registration of copyrights, should form 
an efficient safeguard against breaches of copyright and also 
against piracy. 

(2) This will be a register of those who export positive films 
from this country, all of which must be censored before export. 

(ei) This will be a register of persons exporting undeveloped 
films to be developed abroad. All such persons must make a full 
declaration of the contents and character generally of the 
undeveloped film, wrongful declarations being made punishable. 

(4) This register will contain the names of all those persons 
connected with th.e cinema trade who are declared to be eligible 
for such facilities as Government may hereafter decide to give 
to the trade, e.g., railway facilities. All who apply for admission 
to this register will have to comply with the conditions laid down 
for this purpose. 

There will also be a register of copyrights, subsidiary registers, 
and such special registers as may be required for the purpose 
of the administration of the Quota-system which is recommended 
in the next Chapter. 

This system of registration will be of high value for protecting 
copyright, for collecting information required by the Government 
and by the trade, and for helping the Bureau to administer the 
functions allotted to it. These suggestions are intended solely for 
the benefit of the trade and care should be taken to avoid any 
inquisitorial interference with the internal business affairs of any 
particular concern. 

ll'j. We consider that a stimulus to the production of better 
films will be given it the Bureau award 

Award of prizes for annually a prize or prizes for the best Indian 
meritorious films and i , /. ,1 mi. 

scenarios. productions ot the year. Inese prizes may 

be of little intrinsic worth and may take 

the form of -a gold medal or even a certificate. Their true value 
will be found in the hall-mark which they give to the productions 
thus distinguished and to the consequent advertisement both of 
the films themselves and of the concerns which produce them. In 
the same way the Bureau might offer a prize or prizes annually 
for the best scenarios submitted for its approval. These prizes 
may be substantial sums in cash with the object not only of pay- 
ing for the work involved in preparing the scenarios but also with 
a view to tapping all available sources from which competent 
Indian scenario writers may be obtained. Prize scenarios shall 
automatically become the property of the Bureau for disposal to 
the trade of the country. In our chapter on Production we have 
made other suggestions on scenario-writing, which, if adopted, 
will involve the assistance of the Bureau. The Bureau and 
Advisory Committee will no doubt be able to devise other methods 
of stimulating good production and improved acting. 

114. The Central Cinema Bureau shall be regarded as the 

Executive branch of the Advisory Committee 
with its headquarters in Bombay, where the 
bulk of the producing industry is already 

located and where the greater part of the foreign films which are 

imported into this country are censored. 

115. We must now consider how this Bureau is to be financed. 

Obviously it would be unfair to ask the 

Contributions from Central Government to undertake this res- 
Central and Provincial '1,-Vx ' 'J. j > Ti ,1 

Governments. ponsibihty in its entirety. It must be 

repeated that the functions of the Bureau 

are generally to improve the conditions of the Indian cinema trade 
both in its producing arid exhibiting capacities. Certain depart- 
ments of the Central Government and all Provincial Governments 
are interested in this matter as well as the actual cinema trade in 
this country. The Central Cinema Bureau should be able to 
co-ordinate the activities of all the Government departments, 
whether Central or Provincial, which are interested in the improve- 
ment of the Indian cinema industry. In another part of this 
report we give reasons for urging the Central and Provincial 
Governments to take up seriously the question of mass education 
and propaganda on public utility subjects by means of the cine- 
matograph, and in our remarks on this important subject will be 
found, we believe, full justification for these present recommenda- 
tions and for our invitation to all interested Government depart- 
ments, whether Central or Provincial, to subscribe to the expense 
of the Bureau. The Railway Board has already begun to advertise 
by means of the cinematograph, but there is vast scope for im- 
provement in the technique of its propaganda films, particularly 
as these are to be shown abroad, where the taste in these matters 
is highly developed. It will be not only more effective but also 
more economical if there can be co-ordination of effort between 
the provinces and certain departments of the Government of 
India, particularly the Railway and the Army Departments, and 
the trade in this matter. All Central departments should be 
directed therefore and Provincial Governments invited to co-operate 
in establishing and maintaining the Bureau. We feel convinced 
that the advantages of the Bureau will be rapidly recognized by 
the Provincial Governments and that its services will be eagerly 
sought by all of them, and that where they do not make fixed 
contributions they will pay reasonable charges for work done on 
their behalf. 

116. The Trade also must do its share since it will be the main 

beneficiary. We propose, therefore, that 
Cess on imported together with the existing 15 per cent 
fi1nis< customs dutv an additional 5 per cent 

should be collected by the Custom Houses on all impoited exposed 
films and that the proceeds of this cess, which would on the last 
year's basis amount to Us. 1 ,20,000, should towardft the upkeep 


of the Bureau. We further propose that any surplus from censor- 
ship fees should also be paid to the Bureau. Further, registration 
fees, at moderate rates to be decided on later, will be charged for 
the privileges of enrolment in one or more of the four registera 
above mentioned. Registration fees also shall be devoted to the 
maintenance of the Bureau. 

117. It is estimated that the recurring cost of the Bureau 

and Advisory Committee will amount to 
Estimate of cost. Rg 4^0,000 per annum risin'g to Rupees 
5,00,000, as the work expands. As Indians are substituted for 
the foreign experts, however, the cost will diminish. The pro- 
ceeds from the cess, registration fees, and the surplus from the 
censorship fees should be about Rs. 2,50,000, cess alone being 
estimated to bring in approximately Rs. 1,20,000. The contri- 
butions from the departments of the Government of India and 
Provincial Governments and local bodies who take advantage of 
the Bureau and its activities may very nearly meet the balance. 
Any deficiency will have to be found by the Government of 

118. Wo have also considered the question in what department 

of the Government of India for adminis- 
The Bureau should trative purposes the Bureau and the Committee 

feiiinieS^ D^paS- should l)e attached > and after dul y consider- 

nient. " i n g the claims of the Industries, Education, 

Health and Lands, and the Commerce 

Departments, we have decided to indicate our preference for the 
one last named as the majority of the functions allotted to the 
Bureau will require the co-operation of that department. We also 
anticipate that an inter-departmental committee of the various 
central departments including the Army and the Railways will 
have to be improvised for assisting in the work of this Bureau. 

119. AvS we visualise the future, the functions of the Central 
Summary of funo- Advisory Committee and the Bureau will be 

tions of Committee aa follows* 

and Bureau. 

They are expected to help and guide the Trade and Industry 
on its business side, to be a clearing house of information and 
technical assistance to the cinema industry generally. They will 
certify Indian films for merit and maintain registers of producers, 
exhibitors, renters and importers. They will, after due enquiry, 
register copyrights and the names of those eligible for grant of 
concessions and privileges. The Technical Experts attached to 
the Bureau will train Indians in the various technical aspects of 
the Industry. The Bureau and the Committee are also expected to, 
bring the Trade and Industry together by periodical conferences, 
to discuss matters of common interest; if necessary, they will 
pioneer a printing and developing laboratory a^d also start a 
Government studio for producing educatioral and public utility 


films. The Central Bureau is expected to be of use to all the Pro- 
vincial Governments and the various departments of the Govern- 
ment of India in producing and circulating educational and public 
utility films. They will guide the industry gene-rally, by improving 
the technical side of it, by holding annual competitions and offer- 
ings prizes for scenarios and devising measures for removing 
all difficulties arising out of language differences and provincial 
peculiarities. In fact the Bureau will be a real centre of information 
and co-ordination and will be entitled to call for reports and 
information from the Censor Boards and the Trade, and issue 
periodical publications for the benefit of the Trade and Industry. 
They will act as advisers to the Government of India in dealing 
with appeals and revision petitions and generally in the adminis- 
tration of all matters relating to the cinema. 

120. No demonstration is needed at this point to convince all 
_. . who are interested in the film in this 

General advantages. counhy ^ that the proposed Bureau will be 

of high value to the various Governmental authorities as well as 
to the Trade. An expanding industry means increasing employ- 
ment, growing revenues and a constant addition to the general 
welfare of the country. But, apart from this, the Cinema Bureau 
will be of value to the Government by keeping the latter in close, 
exact and constant touch with all the conditions of the industry, 
and, as we shall see in Chapter V, it should play a large part in 
helping the Governments, both Central and Provincial, to develop 
a propaganda and publicity policy and technique, which might, 
and probably will, produce important results in mass adult educa- 
tion in the widest sense of that word. 

Note. While this report was in the press a memorandum was received 
from the Director of the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau 
regarding the work of the Bureau, which is printed as Appendix J and is 
of interest in connection with the ahove chapter. 




121. From the general survey we have made in a previous 

chapter of this report of the film industry 

The beneficent influ- in all itg aspects an j f rom t h e recommenda- 
ence of the cinema. . ii-jij i i i 

tions we have hitherto made and are making 

later it will be seen that we are more impressed with the beneficent 
than the harmful side of the cinema; and we think it is vital 
that the Government of India should take early steps to guide, 
control and utilise in the interests of Indian nationhood the poten- 
tialities of the cinema. 

122. It will have been noticed that we are not satisfied with 

the general condition of the industry. Lack 

Present inefficiency of organ i sat ion, of technical knowledge, of 
and future potenti- T . , i j . 

alities. business capacity, of financial credit, of 

banking facilities all these have contributed 

in a very large measure to the present inefficient condition of the 
industry and its slow progress. We are not unmindful, when 
comparing the growth of the cinema industry in India and abroad, 
of the fundamental differences which exist between this country 
and others, especially those in the West. The cinema itself is 
only us old as the present century and as a recent writer points 
out : 

" There is certainly no mechanical invention that has ever 
made more rapid strides in 27 years than the film. The half has 
not been told of its potential wonders, sound films, television films, 
wireless films, perfect colour films, stereoscopic films, non-inflam- 
mable films, modifications in the projection of films, which to-day 
have to be jerked 16 times a second through the beam of light in 
order to create the illusion of movement on the screen all such 
developments have or will come, and the field for experiment and 
invention is immense. 

" Every film-man in Hollywood, Paris, Berlin or London 
will tell you that daily, hourly, changes are taking place in the 
direction of the acting; the writing of scenario; story, treatment 
and sub-titles ; the choice of material and musical accompani- 
ment; the planning of picture theatres; and the modes of world- 
wide distribution of the pictures. The whole film-universe is in 
a perpetual state of flux/' 

123. The economic condition of the bulk of the people, the 

popular predilections and prejudices, and 

The cinema has come the general inefficiency here, have, in a 
to stay. , & iiiji iinji 

large measure, retarded the growth of the 

industry. But at the same time that the cinema has come to stay 
in this country also and is bound to spread must be taken as 


124. We consider that the occasion which has now arisen for 

the Government of India to consider the 

tunif pres * nt PP r " resolution of the Imperial Conference in 
Um y ' regard to the exhibition within the Empire 

of films produced within the Empire as interpreted in relation to 
India should be availed of to supplant, in some measure, foreign 
films by home production. 

The centralised and somewhat stricter censorship, which we 
have suggested in the chapter on censorship, may have the effect 
of restricting to some extent the import of foreign films. If the 
supply from outside is thus reduced by such censorship, the void 
must be filled and we consider that in the main India herself 
should be relied on for filling it. The industry, defective as it 
is in many respects, is not altogether negligible as it has been 
believed to be till now, and this is the opportune time for taking 
all possible steps to encourage its growth on proper lines. During 
our enquiry it came as a surprise to us that so much spade-work 
in production had already been done, especially in Bombay and 

125. We have in a previous chapter recommended measures 

for the establishment of a Central Organis- 

^ The industry is pro- a tion which would, in a large measure, help 
certain g places n * *** an< ^ g^de the industry and, in course of 

time, remove, many of the defects which we 

have indicated in previous sections of this report. AVhile the 
producing side of the industry is showing signs of real life and 
growth in Bombay and in Burma, it will be seen from the table 
subjoined that in Bengal and in Madras the industry is distinctly 
languishing, while in other provinces it is non-existent. 

Number of Indian feature films examined province by province. 

Bombay. Bengal. Madras. 

1921-22 45 16 2 

1922-23 40 20 4 

1923-24 52 6 5 

1924-25 55 11 4 

1925-26 94 14 2 

1926-27 96 9 1 

1927-28 (11 months) 73 7 1 

Total ... 461 83 19 

Number of Burmese films examined. 
Feature. News. 

1921-22 T 10 5 

1922-23 33 12 

1923-24 22 9 

1924-25* 26 14 

1925-26 34 9 

1926-27 4T 17 

1927-28 (11 months) 49 21 

Total ... 2~2T 87" 


1'he one producing concern in Madras has also closed down. 
120. We liave it also in the evidence led before us that unless 
the industry is guided on proper lines and 

The necessity for if a u owe d to shift for itself on the lines 
guidance and en- xl -. xl 

couragement. the producers are now pursuing, the un- 

doubted popularity of the Indian films 

with Indian audiences is bound to wane, and they will 
gradually disappear even from the home market, not to 
mention the possible market overseas. There are indications 
already of a tendency in that direction, for in Madras we heard 
of one or two theatres which used to show Indian films and have 
reverted to foreign films. 

127. During the last seven years the number of foreign films 

examined bv the Boards in India (exelud- 

The prpgrebs made Burma ); was g 832 with a footage of 
is insufficient. b ~ ,, f , on ' rm , p T v \ci 

#7,780,989. The number of Indian films 

(excluding Burmese) produced during that period was only 902, 
with a footage of 4,142,415. It is not the percentages or even 
the rate of growth which should be the guide, but it is the volume 
of business which has io be taken into account. The total foot- 
age of films examined in this country during the last seven years 
is nearly 32 millions of which Indian films count only 4 millions 
and a trifle over. Taking India alone, the yearly average of 
foreign films is 1,202 while tli yeaily average of Indian films is 
only 128. These figures relate to all iilms produced or imported 
into India proper; but, taking feature films alone into account, 
during the last seven years the total number of Indian films (ex- 
cluding Burmese) comes only to 503 as against 4,430 foreign 
fillnis. And reckoned by footage they amount only to 3,877,224 
as against 23,808,957 of imported films. The volume of cinema 
business, both Indian and foreign, is growing undoubtedly, but, 
notwithstanding the fact that Indian films are universally re- 
ported to be popular with Indian audiences the growth of Indian 
films has not been as steady or satisfactory as it should have 
been; nor, as appears from the evidence, has it kept pace with 
even the limited demand in the country. It is not a question of 
comparison of Western with Indian films as to quantity or rate 
of progress. It is a legitimate aim for the country to see that 
the Indian film supplants at 'least 50 per cent of the imported 
films within the next few years. It is true that the rate of pro- 
gress in Indian pioduction is appreciably higher than that in 
foreign imports but that is not the proper test to apply. 

Burma is not included in the above figures as Burmese 
films do not enter India, and we have no definite evidence as to 
the exact number of foreign films in circulation in Burma. Table 
10 may be referred to in this connection, where detailed figures are 
given. It may be added that Burmese films are generally longer. 

128. That there is money in the business is well known to the 

producers on the Bombay and Burma sides, 
financial diffi " although they are not able to make the 
best use of it owing to the fact that they 


have not much financial credit nor banking facilities. Most of 
them borrow at high rates of interest and are bent upon making 
money as quickly as they can und of spending it either on them- 
selves or in repaying the amounts borrowed. Very little of the 
proceeds, we have been told, is put back in the industry to im- 
prove or to extend it. Having produced one film, some have 
to wait a long time to get the money to make another and thus 
although there are about 23 Indian producing units, the average 
number of feature films produced in the country during the last 
seven years is only about 80 per annum, i.e., less than 4 per 
producing unit; though it is. true that the number of feature films 
produced has increased from 63 in 1921-22 to JOG in 1926-27 and 
8J in the eleven months of 192728. Some of these 23 units exist 
only in name. 

129. That there is plenty of wealth and of material in each 

National ideas. province in its own history, literature 

and scenery and in its festivals, fairs 

and melas which would, and should, appeal to Indian audi- 
ences cannot be gainsaid. Much of it can also be utilised 
by suitable handling* so as to have a universal appeal. It is not 
ouly the potential value of the Indian film industry in the finan- 
cial sense to the country that we lay stress on, but we are firmly 
of the opinion that it is necessary to remove from the screens the 
foreign grip, naij)ly that of America, which at present threatens 
to establish itself. Luckily, the cinema has not yet invaded the 
interior to any large extent. And before the public in India are 
taught to like the pictures dealing so often with the superficiali- 
ties of life which come from abroad, we consider that timely 
steps should be taken to create a national atmosphere. The cine- 
mas are now a very powerful medium through which national 
ideas can be spread. They unconsciously influence the thought 
and outlook of the people. Further it has been brought promin- 
ently to our notice during the course of our enquiry that however 
strict the censorship may be and there is a limit to it films 
produced elsewhere to suit other tastes and other peoples will 
continue to present the same difficulties and to give room for 
complaints of the sort which have hitherto been frequent. It is 
unnecessary to emphasise this aspect of the matter much further, 
for, from a perusal of the extraordinarily voluminous mass of 
correspondence, of despatches, and of other proceedings on paper 
in connection with the cinematograph censorship, to quote the 
words of the Hon'ble Mr. Crerar in the Legislative Assembly, 
we are satisfied that the Government of India are alive to the 
fact that {( censorship alone is by no means a final answer to the 
various problems which confront them and if this Committee 
could devise means by which this nascent Indian industry could 
be encouraged and put upon a sound footing it would have ren- 
dered a very great service from every point of view." And we 
take it from the speeches of the Government members in both 
Chambers of the Legislature and from the terms of reference to 
this Committee that Government realise the extreme importance 


of encouraging ike growth of tlie film industry in this country 
on sound and healthy lines and that they are only too anxious to 
adopt well-considered measures to achieve that object. 

When in 1921 some measures to encourage the industry were 
urged upon the Government by the expert who had been brought 
out to survey the situation, they were not adopted because of the 
financial position of the Central and Provincial Governments. Now 
everywhere the position has been considerably improved. Almost 
every Indian publicist who came before us was anxious that every 
possible step should be taken to encourage the growth of the Indian 
film industry. One of our colleagues, Colonel Crawford, speaking as 
a representative of the European community in the Legislative 
Assembly, emphasised that lie was anxious that very real assistance 
for the building up of an Indian cinematograph industry should 
be devised by this Committee. And almost all the witnesses agreed 
that one of the effective methods to be adopted for combating the 
alleged evil influence of some of the Western films was to substitute 
Indian films in their place. 

The aid in proposals. 

lull. The question now remains what further measures are 
needed to establish the industry on a sound 

Measures of en- b as is. In addition to the 'formation of the 
couragerneiit which /t . , 1} \ \ i i 4. i 

have been proposed. Central Bureau, which may be said to be 

the key-note of our recommendations, three 
main proposals have been made : viz., 

(.1) Financial aid to the producer; 

(2) Building of more cinemas ; 

(3) Compulsory quota for Indian films. 

We are unanimously of the opinion that finance is the great 
difficulty in the way of this industry developing. We are also 
agreed that the producing industry should be encouraged as far as 
possible and that the quality of production requires considerable 
improvement. We, also attach the greatest importance to the 
spread and establishment of more cinema houses in the country. 

131. The question now is, can anything be done to help the 

industry in the way of removing this great' 
Recommendation of /i:.ffi _.ii i n TTT^'I 11 u 

loans to producers. difficulty about finance. While all of us 

are agreed as to the existence of this difficulty 

and of its being a real stumbling block to the growth of the 
industry, we have, by a majority, decided to recommend that loans 
should be given by Government on the security of produced films 
approved by the Central Bureau in consultation with the Boards 
of Censors, or other approved security, to producers on cheap and 
favourable terms as to interest and period of repayment. This, in 
the opinion of the majority, would be a real relief to the producers 
and involves no great risk to the Government. The industry as 
such by reason of the social stigma attaching to it is not popular 


with the big financiers, and the class of people now engaged in the 
industry have, as we have already stated, not much financial 
credit. Many of them are feeble in their efforts and spend the 
proceeds of a film on themselves; while in any case the proceeds 
come in too slowly to be used witli advantage in the development 
of their business. The most extravagant terms are imposed upon 
them by the money-lenders. The majority are satisfied that unless 
this sort of aid is given much leeway for the improvement of the 
industry would not be made even by adopting the other recommenda- 
tions we are making. It is true it is not a key industry but we 
aie not satisfied, as we have shown in another place, that the 
industry would continue of itself and grow. It cannot be denied, 
however, that the way in which the people of a country utilise 
their leisure hours is one of serious concern to a Government. That 
consideration and the fact that Government have to watch that 
industry by establishing an effective censorship indicate the import- 
ance to the public of the industry. It is not in all cases that finan- 
cial aid will be asked for or is recommended. It is only on the 
advice of the Central Bureau as to the box-office value of the film 
and as to the reliability of the applicant concerned that the majority 
recommend the grant of a loan. Indian films, however poor, pay 

The loan will help the man to i'o forward with the other pro- 
ductions he may have on hand and will relieve him from the hold 
the money-lender has on his time, labour, and industry. Further, 
the staff employed in the studios will be kept continuously at work 
instead of, as at present, being employed only at intervals; and a 
greater output of suitable films will be forthcoming so as to supply 
the demand which already exists and the now demand which, we 
hope, will be created by the establishment and construction of more 
cinema houses and by the exhibition of Indian films in a larger 
number of theatres than at present. 

132. The intelligence and the business and organising capacity 
of people vary from country to country, and it 

'" is WfU kno 1 that the * ma11 industrialists 
in this country are comparatively deficient 
in those qualities which are required to build up u successful busi- 
ness. In the absence of industrial banks, both in the Presidency 
towns and in the mofussil, the difficulty of obtaining loans and 
financial assistance which is felt by the middle-class industrialists 
who are unable to olfex security or sureties is well known. Indians 
suffer in a special degree from this deficiency. This industry is 
almost entirely in the hands of Indians and of middle-class indus- 
trialists. Some of the failures, both in Bengal, Madras, Bombay 
and elsewhere, have attracted more attention than the success 
obtained by some individuals. Naturally capital is shy. With 
better organisation and co-operation, which, we hope, will result 
from the recommendations we have made regarding the Central 
Bureau and its functions, the need for taking loans from Govern- 
ment will gradually disappear. But in the initial stages, till the 


beneficent results have established themselves, it will be absolutely 
necessary, in the opinion of the majority, that some form of finan- 
cial aid on the lines recommended should be resorted to. We need 
only refer to the weighty remarks made by the Indian Industrial 
Commission on the question of industrial finance (vide Chapter XX 
of their lleport). What is most necessary for the people is the 
provision of initial and current finance. In some of the provinces 
there are already Acts in opeiation for, the grant of loans to 
industries. But it has been brought to our notice both by officials 
nnd non-officials that the terms of those Acts are far too rigorous 
to be of any practical use to the industrialist. 

133. The minority are opposed to this recommendation on the 

ground that it is unnecessary and unsound 
The justification for f rQm fhe Wic int of yiew Ag regards 

Government loans. , . 1 l , , . r . , I P . , 

such aid not being necessary, the majority 

point to the fact that the great difficulty of the producer in this 
country is the financial 4 difficulty, and that is recognised by the 
minority also. As regards the question whether it is unsound 
from the public point of view after the policy of qualified pro- 
tection which has been adopted in this country recently and the 
policy underlying the Loans to Industries Acts in the various 
provinces which have received the sanction of the Government 
of India the majority consider it is needless to argue that point. 
While such aid will be of great practical value to the industry, 
which we are all anxious to develop, the limitations we have 
imposed as to the conditions on which the loan should be granted 
minimise the risk to be taken by Government in this direction. 
There is a certain amount of risk in all these matters, but that 
risk has to be faced in the larger interests of the country and 
of the publjc. 

134. A floating capital of about 5 to 10 lakhs of rupees set 

apart for this purpose, whether by the 

Extent and dura- Central Government or by contributions from 
tion of financial am. * *~* ,' ; IT i,,i 

Provincial Governments, and placed at the 

disposal of the Central Bureau or of the Central Board is not 
such a large sum that it cannot be spared without inconvenience 
to the other activities of Government. 

Government loans are advanced in our country for the pur- 
chase of motor cars and for erecting buildings, even for erecting 
social club buildings. In other countries Governments resort to 
direct pecuniary aid to this and other industries of a similar 
kind. It is therefore difficult for the majority to comprehend 
where the unsoundness of principle comes in. 

The proposals we are making are of a tentative character 
to last ten years, at the end of which time it is expected that the 
industry will be able to stand on its own legs and the trade and 
the industry will have organised their resources. 


135. Mere encouragement of production will not be fruitful 
unless provision is also made for the outlet 
Necessity for more o f ^he increased output which we expect will 
cinemas. P11 p r j j. i? 

follow from our recommendations. Jbrom 

the Tables attached to this report it will be seen that in 
British India for a population of 248 millions there are only 
309 cinemas; i.e., one cinema to 802,589 of the population; or 
one cinema to 3,560 square miles. The total seating accommo- 
datioTi in all the cinemas is only 222,000; i.e., if all these- seats 
were occupied every day it would take nearly three years for the 
entire public to see the cinema at least once. But as a matter 
of fact the average daily attendance calculated on a liberal scale 
comes only io about 200 per diem, per cinema, totalling in all 
61,800, the average monthly attendance coming to 1,854,000 and 
the average yearly attendance to 22,248,000. That 200 per diem 
per cinema is a liberal estimate is clear from casual figures which 
we have collected. And we have also noticed during our inspections 
on several occasions that, even when attractive Western films were 
shown, the houses were thinly attended, sometimes not even two 
dozen in a hall which would seat over 500. 

The total number of towns with a population of above 20,000 
in British India is 250 and the number of such towns having a 
cinema is only 94. And in the Indian States for a population 
of nearly 70 millions and odd there are only 60 cinemas. The 
figures here given, though approximate, may be taken to be very 
near the fact. These figures compared with those of some other 
countries reveal the fact that the cinema as yet plays a most 
insignificant part in the life of this country and that there is 
ample scope for expansion. 

In the United States of America, against which the accusa- 
tion is sometimes rashly, and in our opinion untruly, made of 
producing cinema films for sole consumption in the East, there 
are 20,500 theatres wiih a seating capacity of over 18,550,000. 
The daily attendance at the cinemas is 7,000,000. That is, there 
is. one picture theatre to every 6,500 persons and each citizen visits 
the cinema once a fortnight. Nearly 300,000 people are employed 
regularly in production, distribution and exhibition not including 
those employed in allied industries. The theatres pay 37,000,000 
per annum for their films. 

In England there are 3,700 theatres; that means there is a 
cinema for every 12,000 persons and each citizen visits the cinema 
once in six weeks. The theatres pay 6,000,000 per annum for the 
films, which goes mostly to America. 

In Canada 1,750,000 people are reported to attend the cinema 
every week. 

In Italy there are 2,200 theatres besides 4,000 privately owned 
halls where motion pictures are occasionally shown. 

In Japan 2,000,000 persons a month attend the picture houses 
which are about 1,050 in number. There are a very large number 


of seasonal or temporary cinemas besides. There are about 60 
first-run houses. The shows start in the morning and run until 
late in the evening. While 6 or 7 years ago Japan imported 
more than 90 per cent of her films, to-day she is showing 72 per 
cent of Japanese pictures. As in India, the Japanese people 
prefer their own product. There are 37 producing companies. 

In Australia, with a population of just over six millions, 
there are 1,216 theatres. There were only 800 theatres in 1921. 
During 1925, 37 million people paid admission to theatres, i.e., 
each citizen visits the cinema more than six times a year. 

Since the war Germany has opened 1,580 theatres for pictures. 
In 1918 there were 2,299 houses with a seating accommodation 
of 803,508, while at the end of 1925 there were 1,402,462 seats in 
3,878 theatres. The average daily attendance is 900,000. 

In llussia, the industry is completely controlled by the Govern- 
ment. There are 800 theatres for a population of 160 millions and 
there are 3,500 working-men's clubs which also show films. 

Even of the 309 theatres in India about 100 most of them 
being of the better equipped class show only Western films. 
(Vide Table 5.) 

136. In a recent publication, "Films, Facts, and Forecasts/' 

an Englishman, Mr. Fawcett, thus describes 
cinemas equipment f the condition of the smaller cinemas in 

Britain: "The music is bad, the attendants 

incompetent, the equipment of the building out-of-date, the seats 
iinpxmifortable. It is marvellous what the public will endure, 
and how the entertainment purveyor drives them. Now and then 
the public rebel arid an exhibitor goes into liquidation/' That 
description, except the last portion, will apply with much greater 
force to the condition of most of the picture houses which show 
Indian films in India. We have seen several such theatres. 

137. The best organised circuits owning, controlling or 

supplying to the larger number of well- 
Circuits showing equippe(l theatres all over India are reluct- 
Western films. , , i T T ni p /> J.T j. n_ 

ant to show Indian films for tear that their 

better class patrons, namely, the Europeans and those Indians 
who prefer European ways, will desert them. With the present 
class of pictures, with notable exceptions, that fear cannot be 
said to be ill-founded, and has to be taken into account very 
seriously by "us in making any recommendations as to any 
compulsory provisions,. But the fact remains that the " Globe" 
who supply 35 cinemas mostly of the better class while they show 
a considerable volume of foreign with a very fair proportion of 
British films, have not shown or distributed a single Indian film 
hitherto. It is fortunate that Madans, who own the biggest cir- 
cuit and who are accused of being the monopolists in the trade 
and control 85 theatres, are also producers of Indian films. In 
some of their theatres which are situated in Indian quarters or 
near Indian quarters they show their own films and have very 


occasionally shown Indian films produced by other companies. 
That is only .natural. During the last six or seven years they 
have -produced over 60 Indian films and they must be given some 
credit for not neglecting Indian films altogether. But in quarters 
where they cater particularly for Europeans and Westernised 
Indians they do not even show their own productions because of 
the same fear. 

At one of the inspections which the Committee made they 
found almost an empty house in Madras showing Pathe films. 
It is situated in an Indian quarter with a small Anglo-Indian 
population interspersed. The local manager when asked why he 
did not show Indian pictures said he was afraid to do so because 
of the fear mentioned above. And other well-managed agencies 
dealing with Western films do not undertake the distribution of 
Indian films. 

In fact, the best Indian production, Indian in every sense 
of the term (unlike the ''Light of Ada" which was a combined 
effort), we have seen is the film known as "Sacrifice" based on 
Tagore's famous play. The producers found it difficult to get 
that film taken up by Mudans or other well-known agencies. 
We are told that the " Globe " made an offer which was accepted, 
but it has not yet been shown. And in fact it was shown to 
large audiences only in two theatres in Bombay city. It was 
not shown in the West End there and has not been shown else- 
where in India, and the latest report we heard about the film 
was that it has been taken to Europe to be reprinted and exhi- 
bited there, if possible. A film like that produced either in 
America or in England by its own nationals would have been 
competed for with zest by the exhibiting agencies. And here 
we have the sorry fact that the best Indian production has not 
yet found an adequate market in its own country, partly for the 
fear that it may net be attractive to one section of the patrons 
of cinema shows, who undoubtedly favour the better class seats. 
That this is a difficulty in the way of Indian producers has been 
brought to our notice by several witnesses. Many of them com- 
plain that Indian productions are excluded from a large number 
of theatres, and that Madaiis naturally prefer to show their own 
productions in their own theatres and other producers conse- 
quently do not get the same facilities as Madans have in the 
matter of an outlet for their productions, and that they are able 
to show Indian films only in about 50 houses in all in India. 

, Conditions are decidedly better in Burma as the Burmese show 
a marked preference for Burmese films. Even there some theatres 
show only Western films. 

138. It would be an easy solution for this difficulty if we 

D> f th recommend the imposition of a corn- 

proposal S fo? a quota. P ul <"7 q u ta for Indian productions on 
every theatre. But in the circumstances of 

India, where tastes are not uniform, where the East and West 
mingle in large towns and especially in the key towns like 


Calcutta and Bombay, one should not lightly recommend a 
compulsory system. The remedy may be worse than the disease, 
for even the existing custom might disappear without substitut- 
ing other customers in its place. It must be ^recognised that 
Indian subjects are very seldom likely to appeal to Western 
audiences, and probably much less in India, where they see 
Indians every day, than elsewhere. While every nation would 
naturally like to see their own institutions on the screen it is 
only occasionally that they would want to see other nations and 
their conditions of life. But one cannot depend upon such 
casual custom for the advancement of an industry. That is why 
those of us who are inclined to support the quota system are unable 
to support it in its entirety as it has been imposed recently in 
Great Britain. In Great Biitain there are not these diversities 
of tastes nor of predilections of communities, but here religions, 
communities and races meet on a common ground and as little as 
is possible should be done to disturb existing factors. But, at 
the same time, we are not unmindful of the fact that, both in 
the matter of censorship and in the matter of respecting the 
tastes and predilections of communities, the censoring authori- 
ties and also the exhibitors have been too nervous and too tender 
to superficial and unsubstantial objections. 

139. The first and obvious remedy for this difficulty in the 

way of Indian producers is to so organise 

Better distribution the distributing agencies as to bring Indian 

of Indian films, and pictures wiihill t } ie reach () f all the theatres 

encouragement or * . . ... 

travelling cinemas. which now exist, as iar as possible. 

Secondly, to encourage the travelling 

cinemas in the country to take Indian pictures more than they 
do at present. They and the inferior cinemas in the interior, 
we are told, resort to those cheap second-hand films of other 
countries which find their way to India and, curiously enough, 
through London. Every effort should be made to substitute 
Indian films for those cheaper films. 

140. In the third place this is the most important of all 

organised effort should be made to make a 

Encouragement of survey of the possibility of extending the 
the building of more theatres in places where they do not exist 
cinemas and of the use i r> ,1 J * , 

O f h a ii s . and ot encouraging the use 01 existing 

public and educational halls also for cinema 

shows and to get the local and municipal authorities and the 
public to embark upon a building programme. 

We have been advised by more experts than one that the 
real and effective method of spreading the cinema among the 
masses is to build more and more theatres and bring more and 
more cinema halls into existence. This will not only encourage 
the industry generally, but will also afford facilities for providing 
education for the masses, using the term education in a very 
broad sense, by carrying through the eye valuable information 


and instruction. It is in these directions that organised efforts 
both by Government and the people should be made. 

The moans to this 141. What is most needed in this direc- 
end loans tor build- f - 
ing cinemas. uon ls ~ 

(i) removal of financial difficulties, 
(ii) an intelligent survey of potentialities, and 
(iii) co-operation of the various departments of public utility. 
The Central Bureau which we have recommended, will, we 
are sure, be able, in the course of a few years, to devise means 
to achieve this end. But to have real effect Government co-ordi- 
nation and encouragement in the first instance is most essential. 
All of us are agreed that local bodies and municipalities might 
be encouraged to bring into existence more halls within their 
areas for public purposes generally, including cinema shows. Ancl 
for this purpose if local bodies and municipalities require loans 
from public funds, we are of the opinion that such loans may 
and should be granted. The minority, while they have no very 
strong objection to this recommendation, cannot definitely join 
in it. In the case of private individuals or companies who propose 
to build new cinema halls in any appreciable number, we, by a 
majority, recommend loans from public funds to approved indi- 
viduals or companies. The majority are convinced that the local 
boards and municipalities have already many burdens on their 
shoulders which, with the best ^ill and effort, they are not able 
to carry with any great success. The majority are therefore not 
hopeful of any tangible results from that direction. On the other 
hand, if approved private individuals or companies, especially 
producers, can be encouraged to go in for building circuits of 
theatres, the object which we have in view and believe in very 
strongly, namely, the coming into existence of more cinema houses 
scattered throughout the country, will be speedily accomplished. 
It is in that view that the majority recommend that on the re- 
commendation of prescribed authorities loans for that purpose 
should be granted by Government. The security is always there 
and not much risk is taken in advancing loans, especially when 
a previous survey has been made by competent people as to the 
potentialities of the proposed theatrea. 

142. Further, we are all unanimously of the opinion that public 

halls and halls attached to educational 

Recommendation of i nst i tu tions should be placed at the disposal 
increased use of halls . r , 4.1 

by travelling cine- of travelling cinema shows, only actual 

mas. expenses being charged. 

143. We have elsewhere recommended compulsory exhibition 

of educational films by every exhibitor for 

Exhibition of edu- a cer tam length of time in his programmes 
cational films. ^ A most Q{ tlie e^^tors have agreed to 

such a clause. Although in some places there has been a clause 
to that effect in the licenses already granted, it has been a dead 

letter because such films have iiot been available. We have in 
our recommendations made provision for the Central Bureau to 
arrange both for internal production of such films and for obtain- 
ing supplies from abroad. We hope that in a few years educa- 
tional films of the right type will be exhibited in every cinema 
show in this country. 

144. The majority further hope that, with the production 

of a better class of Indian films, they also 
Cultivation of a wiii form a prom i nen t feature in every 
taste for Indian films. . L r i *> 

cinema programme. The exclusive prefer- 
ence for Western films shown by a certain section of the audience, 
both European arid Indian, will, we hope, gradually disappear 
with a greater production of suitable Indian films. Although 
in the first instance the qualified quota system, which the majority 
of the Committee are recommending in the immediately following 
paragraph, might have a disturbing effect on some of the cinema 
theatres, it will not be serious, for we expect that in the course" 
of a year or tAvo people will gradually acquire a taste for Indian 
films also, just as uneducated Indians have acquired a partial taste 
for Western films. The better class theatres usually provide other 
attractions, such as good music, refreshments, etc., which must 
attract the cinema-going public. It may be mentioned also that we 
came across an instance during our inspections of cinema houses 
when an English lady, who had not seen an Indian film before, 
accompanied one of us to view an Indian film*and after seeing the 
film for a short time made up her mind to stay on and see it 
through, contrary to her original intention of staying only for a 
short while. This was a mythological film and of high photo- 
graphic value. The experiment of including Indian films in the 
4 * Western " cinemas has not been tried as the exhibitor is over- 

145. It is an unsatisfactory feature, not to be accepted as 

permanent, that Indian films in India 

Recommendation of should be excluded from any theatre; and 

s a ystem Ualified ^^ everything must be done to eliminate it 

gradually. It is therefore with the double 

object in view of finding an outlet for suitable Indian produc- 
tions in every theatre in India and also of removing 
this unsatisfactory feature that the majority recommend 
that a qualified quota system be imposed. And in doing so they 
have not ignored the weight of objections on the part of those 
exhibitors who show only Western films in certain theatres and 
who are nervous about showing Indian films in those theatres. 
Without their co-operation it is idle to expect a successful work- 
ing of the quota system or the betterment of the Indian film in- 
dustry. Fortunately, the exhibition side of the industry is also 
in the hands of Indians who have got the same national outlook 
as the producers themselves. And if they can but co-operate, as 
we expect they will, in the course of a few years the compulsory 
system will cease to be necessary. 


146. The reasons which led to the imposition of the quota 

system in England are somewhat different 

from those which induce the majority of 
this committee to adopt a modified quota 
system in this country also. There the home production was not 
adequate and the exhibitors were tied down by forward contracts 
to showing films mostly from one country. Here the better class 
exhibitors are nervous and unwilling to exhibit Indian films and 
some of them are not absolutely free to take Indian films by reason 
of the partial prevalence of block booking. It is true, however, 
that blind and block booking are not so prevalent as in England 
or the colonies so as to tie down the exhibitors absolutely. 

Every country which had to get rid of a foreign grip and 
advance its own film industry has had to resort to this quota 
system. Germany has done so with marvellous effect. Notwith- 
standing her Kontingent system she has maintained her reputation 
for excellence in technique, just as America has won the first 
place for excellence in business organisation and management in 
the film industry. Italy ha?, also resorted to it successfully. Austria 
and Hungary have their Kontingent systems. France has been 
considering a quota. We have not been able to ascertain definitely 
how Japriii in so short a time has been able (as already mentioned) 
to supplant foreign films to such an amazing extent. But it appears 
to have been due to private enterprise combined with a natural 
preference for Japanese films and a strict censorship. After consi- 
derable discussions, conferences and debates, Britain, which is 
mainly our guide in many matters, has resorted to this quota 
system. And the majority have therefore no hesitation in recom- 
mending the adoption of such a system in the best interests of the 
industry. That the best theatres in her own country should not be 
open to her own productions is a reproach which must be removed, 
ami it is hoped that the exhibitors, with the national outlook that 
they undoubtedly have, will welcome any measures which will 
facilitate the introduction of Indian films in all th^ theatres nfcd 
that the cinema- going public, who may have some prejudices at 
present, will also be educated out of these prejudices by the 
measures the majority propose to recommend. 

147. The majority are quite aware that the cinema is only an 

amusement, and that there should be no corn- 
Objection to com- pulsion as to what amusement people should 
pulsion in regard to i -r, , , i j? i 

amusements. choose. But this is- a principle of universal 

application and notwithstanding that factor 

other countries have resorted to thjs remedy. Remedies which are 
apparently objectionable in principle have often to be resorted to 
for a time to remove greater evils, especially those which affect 
the national interests of the country. The majority, therefore, 
recommend that an obligation should, be imposed on the lines indi- 
cated in the scheme appended to this chapter on every exhibitor to 
show a certain percentage of Indian films in his weekly programme, 
if not iu every theatre at least in a group of theatres to which he 


belongs or has allied himself. And in order to give him time to 
adjust his business they propose that this compulsory provision 
should commence its operation from the beginning of 1930. 

148. We recognise the initial difficulty of compulsorily showing 

Indian pictures in every theatre. But it 

The difficulty of must be easy for an exhibitor himself to own 

compulsion for all two or more theatres in a given area of to com- 

theatres Transferable & ., , . 

quota> bine with other theatre-owners in that given 

area so that the two together might supply 

the required quota. The majority hope that within the next 
ten years the desired goal will be reached, namely, that 50 per cent 
of the films shown in this country will be Indian. And they have 
attached a skeleton scheme to this report giving particulars of the 
quota they recommend. 

149. The fear expressed by the minority that it will lead to 

the growth of mushroom concerns and the 

The objection re- production of inferior films is not a serious 
garding mushroom Qne The game fear has been i nvar i a b] V 


concerns and produc- .. , ., , , , 

tion of inferior films, mentioned whenever the quota system nas 

been proposed in any country, and yet the 

quota system has survived and found acceptance, even in Great 
Britain, and is spreading. Far from having that effect which the 
minority apprehend, it will act as an incentive to every producer 
to improve his quality so as, with the aid of the quota, to suit 
better tastes and audiences. On the whole, the majority are satis- 
fied that it is the only sound basis on which we can develop the 
growth of the Indian film industry in this country. There will be 
a larger number of exhibitors ordering good films and competi- 
tion will be kept up on account of the higher prices they will offer 
for better films. 

150. The Indian film industry has to struggle against odds, as 

^ . . has been pointed out already, and parti- 

Competition of IT , ,1 .... /, ,, T 

cheap foreign films. larly against the competition of the cheap, 

though technically superior, second-hand 

foreign films from well-organised countries which are supplied 
from the London market. 

151. It is again a matter for consideration whether other than 

Participation of non- P^ In(lian films > as we have define(1 
Indian films in the them, should be allowed to qualify for the 
quota. quota. 

"We have in another place dealt with the question of the recom- 
mendation^ of the Imperial Conference in regard to British Empire 
films and it is therefore unnecessary to deal with it here. 

Certain other measures for assisting the industry. 

152. Having so far considered the four m$in proposals (including 
Modifications of the * he ^y'P^posal) which have been suggested 

tariff. to us tor assisting the industry, it now 

remains for us to examine certain other 

measures proposed with the same object. It has been suggested 


that the duty on imported films should be enhanced as a protection 
to the indigenous industry, and we will now deal with that sug- 
gestion and other relevant matters connected with the Customs 
duty, such as a rebate on ed.ucational films, exemption of raw mate- 
rials, the objections taken to retaining the present uniform ad 
valorem duty and other kindred matters. 

153. Under item No. 105 in the Statutory Import Tariff, all 

cinematograph films, negative or positive, 

Assessment on a whether virgin or exposed, are dutiable at 

evitable. " 1^ P er cen ^ a ^ valorem. Where any article 

is declared by the statute to be dutiable ad 

valorem, the Government of India have power under the Tariff 
Act to notify for it a tariff valuation. Such tariff valuations are 
normally scrutinised and, if necessary, revised annually, and are 
meant to represent the average current market value, less of course 
the duty included therein of all kinds and qualities of the article. 
Such a tariff valuation has been fixed for all exposed standard 
positive films, new or used. The reason for this seems obvious. 
The potential value of a film is incalculable, as it depends on its 
box office value, and its actual cost to the importer is also very 
difficult of appraisement. Unless the film is 'junk' the importer 
normally pays a royalty to the overseas owner of the copyright for 
the exclusive right of exploiting the film in a certain area or terri- 
tory for a certain period. (The ' Indian Territory* usually covers 
India, Burma and Ceylon.) He also pays at so much a foot for 
each positive copy of the film which he requires. Further he may 
contract with the overseas- owner to pay him a certain percentage 
of the box office receipts, and we understand that this is becoming 
increasingly common in the case of the best films. For the Custom 
Houses to obtain correct information about royalties is difficult in 
the extreme, and the percentage system is an additional compli- 
cation. Consequently, we consider that assessment on a tariff 
valuation or at a specific rate is inevitable. Of the two, we prefer 
assessment on a tariff valuation, as such a valuation can, at any 
time, be revised by a Government notification if real prices vary. 

154. When we began our enquiry in November 1927, the tariff 

valuation stood at 4 annas per foot. The 
Recommendation re- assessable value of 1,000 feet, which is a con- 

ga fn/ n | nhrJT SitiveS venieiit unit to take, was thus 4,000 annas 
printed abroad. > _' 

or Us. 250, and duty thereon at the statutory 

rate of 15 per cent amounted to Us. 37-8-0. The duty, it will be 
noted, was thus the same whether the film was a c super feature ' 
or mere second hand 'junk.' 

During the currency of our investigation a change was made 
both in the tariff wording and valuation. On our making a refer- 
ence to the Government of India it was explained to us that it was 
made in the ordinary course of the annual revision, and that no 
question of policy or principle was raised or decided. With effect 



from 1st January 1928 exposed standard positive films, new or used, 
which are proved to have been printed from negatives produced in 
India, have accordingly paid duty on a tariff value of only one anna 
per foot, whereas the tariff valuation of all other exposed standard 
ppsitive films has been raised from 4 annas to 4J annas per foot. 
We may s-ay at once that we consider this concession to positives 
printed abroad not only an unnecessary but a retrograde step. We 
are satisfied from the evidence which we have heard and from the 
actual results which we have seen that negatives can be satisfactorily 
developed and positives printed therefrom in India, and that such 
developing and printing are essential to the expansion of the Indian 
producing industry. The despatch of films abroad for printing, 
and still more for developing, should therefore certainly not be 
encouraged, and in fact should be definitely discouraged. We 
strongly recommend a reversion to the position prior to 1st January 
1928 so that all standard positive films should be liable to the same 

155. We do not consider that the existing duty, which at the 

new tariff valuation of 4^ annas per foot 

Increase of duty on amounts to Us. 42-3-0 per 1,000 feet, is a 

imported films as a h burden on the importer or exhibitor. 

protective measure not A , , v , . 111,1, 

recommended. At the same time we hold that no increase 

in the duty is necessary to protect the 

Indian producing industry. In the first place, no very serious 
trade demand for protection has been made, and even if it had 
been made, the producers have put themselves out of court by 
refusing our request for a frank disclosure of their financial posi- 
tion, despite our assurance that their figures would be examined 
in the strictest confidence. In the second place, we feel that the 
exhibitor must not be unduly penalised. Some of the recommend- 
ations which we are making elsewhere for the benefit of the trade 
and th.e industry as a whole will involve an additional financial 
burden on the exhibitor, and possibly, through him on the con- 
sumer. The exhibitor must continue to show a considerable 
proportion of imported films for some time to come, and if his 
programmes became unduly expensive he might be driven out of 
business^ and the number of cinema houses would tend to decline. 
We regard the opening of more houses as of the utmost importance, 
and anything that would restrict the expansion of the exhibiting 
industry, and still more anything that would cause a decline in 
it, would be to the direct detriment of the Indian producer, 
inasmuch as it would damage his market. Moreover, no slight 
enhancement of the duty would prove of any value as a protective 
measure. The increase in duty for such a purpose would have to 
be very high, and this the trade could not bear, so that the net 
result would prove detrimental to the development of the industry. 
In any case, we feel that our recommendations formulated else- 
where for the benefit of the producing industry will give producers 
$11 the assistance which they need. 


156. There is, however, one tariff concession which we Consider 

the producing industry can legitimately 

Recommendation of claim. Saw or virgin film is the raw 

raw films On material of the industry. It has been made 

clear to us that the production of finished 

films, especially of good films, inevitably involves a very consi- 
derable wastage of raw films. Raw film is not made in India, 
nor is it likely to be so made for many years. That the raw material 
of an industry should be free of duty is almost axiomatic. Imports 
of raw films into British India in the eleven months ending 29th 
February 1928, as reported by the Director-General of Commercial 
Intelligence and Statistics, were valued at Rs. 4,93,238. The 
annual value may thus be taken as Rs. 5,38,000 on which the duty 
at the rate of 15 per cent would be Rs. 80,700. We feel that the 
Government should be prepared to sacrifice this relatively small 
revenue. For the sake of administrative convenience and also for 
the reason that imports of non-standard cinematograph film cannot 
be considerable, we recommend that all classes of raw cinematograph 
films should be put on the free list of the tariff. 

157. It has also been suggested to us that all cinematograph 

machinery, such as cameras, projectors and 
Machinery and che- printing machines, should be exempted from 
mica s * duty. The expenditure on such machinery 

only forms a small part of the general expenditure of producers 
and exhibitors, and it does not appear that all the imports are 
exclusively consumed by the industry. Consequently we do not 
think that a case has been made out for the amendment of the 
tariff in this sense. The exemption of chemicals used in film 
laboratories would of course be administratively impossible and is 
certainly unnecessary. 

158. We consider that imported films possessing a definitely 

educational value ought to be free of duty. 

Recommendation of We recognise that the Custom Houses can 

rebate on educational i -ji 1 x j x 'j *j x xi x* 

ft | nis hardly be expected to decide at the time ot 

import what films would be entitled to this 

concession, and therefore duty must be charged at the time of 
import. But whenever the censor views a film which he considers 
to qualify, he should immediately move the Central Bureau to 
give the importer a certificate, and this certificate, if presented by 
the importer to the Custom House within three months of the 
importation, should entitle the importer to a refund of the duty 
paid. No 'feature' films should receive this concession, but in 
all other respects the words "educational value " should be liberally 
interpreted, and should be held to cover public utility films, such 
as public health or agricultural propaganda films, films exhibit- 
ing industrial methods, and th.e like. Very few such films have 
hitherto been imported, and the concession will therefore sacrifice 
very little revenue. 


159. It has been suggested to us that imported films have an 
~ , , advantage over Indian films, in that if re- 

exported within three years of importation 

the exporter can obtain under the Sea Customs Act a drawback 
of seven-eighths of the duty paid. If, however, a film had been 
exhibited all over India, it would possess little value when re- 
exported, and the Sea Customs Act prohibits the payment of draw- 
back on any article which is not worth the duty. Further, old 
films do not in fact seem to be re-exported under claim for draw- 
back. Consequently we do not think it necessary to suggest that 
the payment of drawback on re-.exported films should be prohibited. 

160. Two questions touching the tariff remain to be considered, 

We have it in evidence that the flat rate of 
duty pressea heavily on the cheaper imported 
films, in particular on the very cheap and 
often used films, sometimes known as 'junk', which are shown by 
the poorest class of permanent and travelling cinemas. It is 
exactly this class of films which must compete with the cheaper 
Indian productions, and apart from this it is a type of film whose 
disappearance we would view with satisfaction. Consequently, we 
consider that it should receive no tariff concession. 

161. Nor do we think that when more than one positive copy 

r. i- A of a film is imported, any concession should 

Duplicate copies. , i , ,1 i T 

be made to the second or succeeding copies. 

Such copies are not generally imported unless they have a consider- 
able box office value. It would be exceedingly difficult for the 
Custom Houses to administer any such concession, and we imagine 
that when the tariff valuation is fixed, account is taken of the 
fact that copies after the first are obtainable by the royalty payer 
relatively cheaply. 

162. We will now proceed to deal with some of the minor 

suggestions an d proposals. It has been 
that iQ order to enooume the 

production of good films bonuses might be 
granted to films certified as good. We do not approve of that 
suggestion. Good films have increased box-office value and there 
is no reason for the grant of any extra bonus. But we recognise 
that something should be done to create competition among the 
producers for the production of good and better films. We therefore 
recommend that the Bureau in conjunction with the trade might 
arrange to hold annual competitions and grant medals or certifi- 
cates, as the case may be, for the best productions. This will 
have the desired effect and will act also as an advertising medium 
for the trade and will create an interest. We have noticed that 
in other countries the trade are asked to vote for the best ten films 
of the year, the best ten actors of the year, and so on. The adoption 
of a similar system accompanied by the grant of medals and 
certificates, to which Indians attach very great value, would, 
in our opinion, be a sound measure. 

163. We have in another chapter dealt with the advisability 

and, indeed, the necessity of the increased 
Increased use of the use of the cinema by the various Govern- 
cinema by Govern- 4. i\ A i A i * j.i 

ment departments. ment Departments. And if those recom- 

mendations are accepted the measures 
proposed will also be of indirect assistance to the industry generally. 

164. It has been suggested to us that scholarships for studying 

the various technical subjects connected 
With the ^tay tenaWe in foreign conn- 
tnes, such as Germany, America and 
England, might be recommended by us. We consider the 
suggestion a very good one. Here again the Central Bureau and 
the trade will be able to devise measures for the award of such 
scholarships. It will be part of the duty of the experts, attached 
to the Central Bureau to give the necessary facilities for the 
training of Indians in the various technical aspects of the industry. 
We do not in any way underrate the importance of those employed 
in the industry acquainting themselves at first-hand with the 
methods and practices adopted in countries where the industry 
is already well-established and organised, and we consider that 
Government should use their agents and the agents of the Home 
Government abroad to see that Indian students get free and full 
opportunities for acquainting themselves with all the processes 
adopted in the manufacture of films. Some witnesses who have 
appeared before us have complained of the difficulty of getting 
those opportunities whether in England or elsewhere, while others 
who have been abroad have been able to get the access they wanted 
without much difficulty. It is a matter in which the High Com- 
missioner for India in England and the trade commissioners and 
ambassadors abroad could be instructed to help the scholarship 
holders. In the granting of scholarships we consider that preference 
should always be given to those who have actually gained some 
experience in the line in this country. Provincial Governments 
and the Central Government are already granting foreign scholar- 
ships for the study of technical subjects abroad and this Committee 
feel that some additional provision for scholarships in this line 
might also be provided for either by independent action or by 
conjoint action on the part of the various Governments. Having 
regard to the fact that at present the field for employment of 
those trained abroad is not very large, we recommend that only 
a limited number of scholarships, whether organised by the Central 
Bureau or by the Governments, should be created. 

165. It has also been suggested to us by some witnesses that 

a well-equipped Government studio or 

Government studio. stu( H os ^ ou i<j be of great advantage to the 

industry; for it would afford opportunities for small producers 
to avail themselves of the facilities in such studios for producing 
their own films. While we are strongly impressed with the 
advantages of such a proposal, especially for the purpose of public 


utility films, we are also impressed in a way with tlie point of view 
advanced by certain other witnesses that in producing films required 
for Government Departments as much use as is possible should 
be made of the studios already in existence in this country, which 
will be one method of indirectly aiding the studios to stand on 
their own legs. We have accordingly left to the Bureau and the 
Advisory Committee which we have proposed in connection with 
the Bureau the question of deciding the necessity or desirability 
of starting a Government studio or studios after examination of 
the existing facilities in the country. It is a matter to be deter- 
mined by the Bureau after ascertaining the nature and volume of 
the work required. 

While on the one hand the objection that the private producer 
is generally tempted to quote high rates for Government orders 
remains, there is on the other hand the fact that Government- 
managed 'Concerns have a tendency to inelasticity and to the red- 
tape involved in Government rules and orders and to the creation 
of a multiplicity of appointments. The existence and actual 
working of well-equipped film-producing, studios is of great 
importance to the industry generally and we have no doubt that 
a suitable decision will be reached by the Bureau and Advisory 
Committed within a very short time after they have examined 
the situation for themselves. 

166. But we are strongly impressed with the fact that there is 

a crying need or the establishment of a 

Recommendation of Developing and Printing Laboratory by 
a developing and ri > & x 1 i, 

printing laboratory. Government as a pioneering efiort, to be 

handed over after a certain time to private 

concerns. Some of the technical defects which are often obser- 
vable in Indian films are due to imperfections in the printing 
and developing of films. And a modern institution with modern 
equipment established in this country for such work will tend in 
a large measure to improve the quality of films produced in India. 
We therefore recommend that .one of the first subjects to be taken 
up by the Central Bureau for consideration and action should be 
the addition of this adjunct. They. can also usefully employ the 
experts who will be attached to the Bureau, as recommended 
elsewhere, in practical demonst rations. 

167. We do not consider that there is any necessity for 

. . opening classes either in schools or colleges 

Classes for training. ^ training students in the various bran- 
ches of the industry, as has been suggested to us by some of the 
witnesses; for, we are not satisfied that a sufficient number of 
students will be forthcoming if such classes are opened. Nor 
will there be, for a long time to come, sufficient openings for the 
employment of 1 any large number of students so trained. When 
the industry has established itself and has spread, we have no 
doubt that such classes will spring up of themselves. 


168. It has further been pressed upon us by many witnesses 

that recognised producers should be granted 
nd C n " facilities of Access to public buildings of 
historical or scenic interest, and allowed 
the use of troops, horses and other facilities, and also that they 
should be given the advantage of reduced railway fares such as 
are granted to theatrical troupes and others. We consider that 
these proposals are just and leasonable provided any actual 
expenditure incurred in that behalf is met by the producer and 
that there is no inconvenience caused to public business. Of course 
there is no question of actual expenditure in the case of conces- 
sions in railway fares. The representative of Army Headquarters 
who appeared before us stated that there would be no objection 
to the ]o<an of troops in suitable rases for cinema purposes provided 
that there was no interference with training and that expenses, 
if any, were paid. It is true no doubt that some of the producing 
concerns obtain access to such places in the Indian States and 
are able to borrow there troops, horses, cannon and other para- 
phernalia. Some of them have also been able to get free access 
to operate in public streets and public places in British India. 
It depends more or less upon tlie personal push and influence of 
the individual producer. It i v s not every one who is able to 
approach Collectors of districts or authorities in charge of public 
buildings with letters of introduction from high places. We 
think that the grant of facilities or concessions to industries 
should rest on a uniform procedure and we recommend that such 
concessions and privileges should be given only to concerns regis- 
tered and recognised by the Central Bureau. 

169. We are strongly convinced that all producers, exhibitors, 

renters, importers, arid distributors, except 

Recommendations re- private individuals employing non-standard 

gardnig registration ]U ,, . ^ fo iiaiu. 

and returns. ^ lms * or their own P riv &te use, should be 

brought on to one register under the control 

of the Central Bureau, and only registered persons or companies 
should be allowed to perform any of the functions connected with 
the cinematograph industry in this country. This is very neces- 
sary for many reasons. Every other country in which this 
industry flourishes possesses up-to-date materials from which 
statistics can be supplied and which render possible a survey of 
the conditions of the industry in the country, not only for 
Governmental purposes but also for the benefit of the trade itself. 
In the course of our enquiry, as has already been pointed out, 
we had to make repeated attempts in varioirs quarters to get 
accurate figures as to the number of cinemas, of producers, of 
films produced, and such other matters. In fact in his speech 
in the Council of State on the 15th of September 1927 the 
Hon'ble Mr. Haig mentioned that the Government were very 
ignorant of the details of the working of the organisations of 
this important industry and they hoped that this Committee 
would give them some needed information. We were surprised 
to find the Government of India in their Industries Department 


had no information whatever regarding this industry, while the 
Commerce Department was able to supply figures only in 
regard to imports ; nor was it any better with the Provincial 
Governments. And the trade themselves are hopelessly ignorant 
of the conditions of the industry. Even some of the most 
intelligent producers gave us figures of production which were 
merely conjectural and which do not correspond with the figures 
which we have been able to collect after laborious compilation 
from the reports of the Censorship Boards. For that reason alone 
registration of the various branches of the industry and trade, 
and the provision for compulsory returns to be made periodically 
to the Central Bureau which we have recommended, become a 
matter of great importance. 

170. Apart from that we have also to guard against non- 
Indians acquiring vested interests in the 

The danger of non- trade in this country to the detriment of 
Indian control of the ,- , i , , T j_ i xi 

trade and industry. the national interests. It was only recently 

that we were threatened by the conclusion 

of an agreement between the owners of the largest circuit in this 
country and certain foreign films by which producing interests 
in another country would acquire control of 1 a large circuit of 
cinema houses spread all over the country. That this would not 
be a desirable eventuality will be readily admitted by all who are 
interested in the advancement of the film industry in this country; 
and therefore, while we are not satisfied that the danger is at 
present imminent or piobable, at the same time we are of the 
opinion that should such an occasion arise or be likely to arise 
when non-Indians threaten to acquire interests in any branch of 
this industry or trade to any large extent, otherwise than under 
the conditions and terms which are laid down for the purpose of 
sharing in the quota system and for getting the benefits of con- 
cessions from Government and other public bodies, the Govern- 
ment should arm themselves with legislative powers to exclude 
such concerns from operating in this country. For it is easily 
conceivable that powerful interests concerned in production in 
other countries might try to capture the market by acquiring 
control over the cinema trade here. Or again, powerful interests 
concerned in the cinema trade in other countries might establish 
producing agencies in this country, or build cinema circuits to 
advance their own interests and to the detriment .of the indige- 
nous producers and exhibitors already in the field. The minority 
agree generally with this recommendation, but as they are 
opposed to the quota scheme, in their separate minute propose a 
different restrictive principle. 

171. Only registered persons and companies should be allowed to 

~ . , , ,. produce or exhibit or rent or distribute or 

P ulso?y Fa for produ import, and only persons who qualify them- 

tion, exhibition, etc. selves by complying with the conditions im- 

, posed for sharing in the quota system should 

be granted concessions and privileges for producing or owning 1 or 

controlling large circuits of cinema houses. It is not unlikely that 


if the quota system is imposed foreign interests will come into the 
country and try to produce Indian films. The predominance 
of the Indian element in such concerns should always be assured. 
Otherwise there will be no meaning in the quota system. 

172. With that view we have adopted, mutatis mutandis, the 
_..,. definition in the British Cinematograph Act 

asSnce ^^ of a British film and a British company 
with modifications suited to the conditions 

in this country. And we think we have made liberal provision 
in that modification for the advent of foreign assistance in pro- 
cluction and in the development of ihe cinema. Producers who 
merely take the photos here and send the negatives for developing 
and printing and exhibition abroad should be allowed to do so 
only when they have lodged with tbo Central Bureau a signed 
declaration as to the nature of the subjects dealt with in the film 
in such form as may be prescribed. 

173. Secondly, positives when they are exported abroad should be 

subjected to censorship before they are al- 

Misrepresentation of lowed to leave the country, for we have 
Indians in films exhi- i T ^ t j i i T i j j j 

bited abroad heard complaints, that Indians are depicted 

in an objectionable light in some of the 

films exhibited abroad. We have al^o hnrl strong representations 
made to us that in films produced outside India Indians are 
depicted in the character of villains and crooks. Should such 
cases occur, we consider that the Government of India should 
bring their diplomatic influence io bear upon the other countries 
either through their own agents abroad or with the assistance of 
the British ambassadors, consuls, trade commissioners, trade 
agents and others in those countries. We have come across seve- 
ral instances in India during our investigation where, out of defer- 
ence to objections taken by consuls of different countries, censors 
have either banned films or excised portions on the ground that 
they are likely to cause offence to citizens of friendly countries. 
And we are glad to note that those consuls have been keenly alive 
to the interests of their mother countries in this direction in our 
country. Similarly this country has a right to expect its repre- 
sentatives and the representatives of the Home Government abroad 
to take similar steps in those other countries, and we strongly urge 
upon the Government of India to use their influence in that direc- 

Certain difficulties and defects of Production. 

174. We shall now proceed to consider certain difficulties and 

. . defects of film-production in India, which 

Actors and actresses. ^ ^ ^^^ Jn chapter n 

The motion picture in its very essence as a visual art 
depends for its success upon representation of men and women 
in various aspects on the screen. Actors and actresses of excell- 
ence are the first and primary requisites for the success of the 
film. Acting on the stage and acting for the film are fundamen- 
tally different. Hitherto there hove boen ro regular f anilities 
either in schools, colleges, or private institutions for learning or 



acquiring the art. Nor had the people who have taken to film act- 
ing in this country the opportunity of seeing famous film stars 
actually at work. The high standards of excellence which we see 
in Western films cannot therefore be reasonably expected of them, 
and it is creditable that some of the actors and actresses have done 
well so far. 

It is a deplorable fact that many of the actresses now in the 
field come from a class of people who unfortunately have not the 
best reputation. It is at present an inevitable but regrettable fact. 
With time, spread of education, and improvement of conditions of 
life we hope that this difficulty will disappear. Considerable 
restraint or rather much less freedom between the sexes than is 
prevalent in the West would have to be aimed at here for film-act- 
ing if Jadies of position and standing are to come forward. With 
the establishment of the Bin-can and the Advisory Committee that 
we have proposed, and with the co-operation of the trade, we are 
convinced that standards of conduct suited to India will soon be 
devised and followed. But such as tlicv are, we are satisfied that 
for this unfortunate class of people film-acting affords an escape 
from the miserable lifo they have to lead. In that sense we wel- 
come the opportunity afforded to them, and, so long as they behave 
well enough when they are in the studios, we consider the criti- 
cisms directed affninst them do not deserve much attention. They 
have contributed to the growth of the film industry in this country, 
and it is not proper to say that all of them come from a disreput- 
able class. The situation, however, is very promising- and we are 
hopeful that things will right themselves in the desired direction, 
and we do not think that any specific measures are needed for that 
purpose. We have hoard of instances whore cultured ladies are 
willing to come forward provided a suitable atmosphere is created, 
and we expect that that suitable atmosphere will be created when 
the trade have learnt to combine and organise the industry with 
the help of the Central Bureau. 

175. Other defects which have been mentioned to us and 

which also struck us are : that the compo- 

Scenarios and titles sition of the scenarios is not good and that 

Recommendation of the titles and sub-titles are defective and 

examination of scena- i rm . . . 

nos and competitions, cumbrous. ^ These are again matters m 

which conditions will improve when a 
guiding agency such as we have recommended is established. 

As regards scenarios, we would recommend that the Central 
Bureau might offer to examine, with the assistance of the experts 
on its staff, the scenarios, on the application of either the producer 
or the scenario-writer, and make suggestions and improvements. 
This might be done for a nominal fee. Moreover we also 
recommend that they should hold a competition for scenario- 
writing and buy the first 5 or 6 best scenarios and offer them to 
the trade for the purpose of production. It is the absence of 
technical knowledge that is responsible for the existence of these 
defects, and the technical experts attached to the Bureau will be 

in a position to advise the trade and industry in this direction. 
There should be no compulsion on the trade to submit scenarios 
to the Central Bureau, but such submission should be encouraged. 

176. One other fault which has been noticed both in India and 

Burma is the tendency to imitate the West 

Imitation of the in introducing fighting scenes and other 
West> characteristics which appear in the Western 

serials. There is also a tendency either to translate Western 
stories or introduce matter from Western stories and imitate 
Western methods. The activities of the Bureau will tend to 
remove these defects also. 

177. All the defects 'that we have mentioned here and else- 

where show that there is a sad want of 

Co-operation of the co . peration from the educated classes in 
educated classes. ., x , . . /(1 ^ .,, , T , i 

the production ox films, and with the estab- 
lishment of the Central Bureau we are looking forward to the 
employment of more and more educated men and women in the 
production of films and in the several departments of the trade. 

178. Unfortunately the Muslim community have not hitherto 
,, ,. interested themselves in the production of 

MUSlim tastes. m mi ^ i * j.1 

films. There are many subjects in then- 
history and literature which can be utilised for producing stories 
for the film. Some Muslims have entered into the industry more 
as financiers than as scenario-writers or actors. It is to be hoped 
that when the trade and industry are better organised films suited 
to Muslim tastes will also come into existence in larger numbers. 
As it is, such films are few, and consequently the Muslim attend- 
ance at the cinemas when Indian films are shown is rather poor. 
This is a matter which we commend to the Bureau for their early 

179. The two great difficulties in the way of Indian films 

attaining universal popularity in India 

Th e language diffi- itself, i.e. the language difficulty and 
differences. plovmcia provincial differences in taste, dress and 

manners, have already been mentioned. 

We are not able to suggest any definite recommendations to over- 
come these difficulties which are real. But with experience 
gained and with more intercourse by way of conferences between 
the various producers from the different provinces under the 
auspices of the Bureau these difficulties also can be overcome or at 
least minimised. 

180. In connection with the language difficulty it may be 

mentioned that in some theatres we found 
Demonstrators. it wag fa e prac tice to interpret the captions 
in an attractive way by demonstrators especially employed for 
the purpose. It will be for the trade to determine whether the 
training of intelligent people in that way will not be the proper 
remedy for overcoming language difficulties. In every theatre 

tu which we went we found the so-called illiterate classes, sitting 
in the body of the hall, taking a great interest in reading the 
captions aloud, probably for the benefit of their companions close 
by. These are matters which we cannot adequately deal with. 
They must be left to experience and the trade. But we have 
referred to them here as they have been mentioned to us by several 

181. One difficulty in the way of the production of historical 

films has been mentioned, that susceptibi- 
Communal suscepti- lilies of communities, especially Muslims 
)l l ie3 ' and Hindus, can easily be wounded. 

While we are alive to the necessity for respecting the feelings 
of communities whether in social or religious matters, we are 
convinced that, if the film industry in this country is to succeed, 
the extreme tenderness which is now shown to them both by 
censoring authorities and the executive should disappear. Some 
of the objections which we have heard taken against some of the 
films in certain quarters should not have been tolerated, and we 
have referred to a few of them in the chapter on censorship. The 
Indian producer has to contend against odds, and he cannot be 
expected to rise even to moderate prosperity in the industry if 
frivolous or hypercritical objections are to be respected. 

182. The Indian producer and the exhibitor lack the knack of 

advertising and pushing their goods. They 
U)lciy * have not begun to understand the elements 

of good publicity, good advertising and corporate action. Artistic 
advertisements and posters are sadly wanting in the case of the 
Indian films. We are hopeful that the Bureau we are advocating 
will be able to help the trade in that direction. 

1*83. In fact there are many minor matters which will have to 

be attended to with the assistance of experts. 

Historical books of There is the lack of authoritative literature 

reference. dealing with historical subjects, the modes 

and manners of different ages, styles of dress and other things. 

We have referred in another place to the valuable suggestions 

made to this Committee by Sir John Marshall in that direction. 

Distribution and Exhibition. 

184. As regards the distribution and exhibition side of the 
industry specifically, we have heard few 

The independent definite suggestions or proposals for. alleviat- 
ex or. ing or removing such difficulties as exist. 

The independent exhibitor in every country has to suffer from the 
inherent disadvantage of being an independent exhibitor. In a 
trade like this the best interests of individuals require that they 
should combine and form groups. Then only will they be able to 
command the better class films. The complaint that they are 
obliged to buy the better class films at a higher rate is one which 
is inevitable. The tendency in other countries where the industry 
is firmly established is for the producer to command his own circuit 


for the outlet of the films which _ he produces. With the growth 
of the industry we are hopeful that similar conditions will arise 
here, and the grant of loans and facilities that the majority have 
recommended will, we hope, induce the formation of such groups. 
185. Some of the exhibitors have complained to us that the 

_. P , exclusive rights which they acquire under 

Piracy of films. , , P, ,, i J * 

^ : contracts with the producers or owners of 

films elsewhere and some of them are valuable rights in super 
films are infringed by the free introduction of pirated copies 
of such films by other exhibitors. This is an injury to the 
exhibitor which we think he should be protected against. 
We have to some extent examined the existing legal reme- 
dies open to the exhibitor.* We arc not satisfied that 
they are adequate. Prevention is better than cure, and legal 
remedies always take a long time. We therefore recommend 
that, to have protection for their rights, the exhibitors should 
be permitted to register their exclusive rights wnh tue Centiai 
Bureau, who, on production of the necessary documents of title, 
will, if they are satisfied, grant certificates, which will prima 
facie hold good. When such certificates have been issued in 
favour of one, _t_he censoring authorities should refuse to certify 
other copies of the same film on the application of any other 
person. Of course it is open to the aggrieved party to get the 
registration cancelled by recourse to the Civil Court. Till then 
the censoring authorities will give protection to the aggrieved 
party. ~TL.e applicant for such certificate should be called upon 
to pay a registration fee of Us. 50 and should of^ourse_indenuiify 
the censoring authority and the Bureau against any claim by 
other parties. The Customs authorities have now power to with- 
hold for a time tlie clearing of goods and that power also may be 
exercised in these cases as in other cases subject to the usual 
conditions. There have been undoubtedly instances where valu- 
able rights have been thus invaded. The exhibitor is not always 
very prosperous, and it is only in the case of valuable films that 
rights are likely to be invaded, and it will be difficult to compensate 
the owner of such rights by damages that he may recover ulti- 
mately in a Court of law, if he can do that at all. It should be 
possible to clothe the Central Bureau by legislation with the 
requisite authority to grant certificates of this character subject 
to an appeal to any prescribed Civil Court, and we recommend that 
this course should be adopted. 

18G. We have heard some complaints that the exhibitor is 

Free passes. often obliged to grant free passes to 

subordinates of departments with which he 

has to deal in order to ensure peace in his avocation. While the 
remedy for this state of things lies in his own hands we consider 
that the provisions we are making for the submission of returns 
fyom every exhibitor of the daily attendance and the issue of 
tickets will be a check upon any abuse in this matter, and we do 
not think that any further measures are needed to remedy this 

* See Chairman's note on Copyright and Piracy printed as Appendix H. 

187. It has also been pressed upon us that the entertainments 

, , . , . tax levied in certain areas acts as a deter- 
Entertainments tax. , 11,1 * i j -\^r 

rent and burden ifpoii the trade. We are 

satisfied that this is in some cases and places a real grievance. 
These taxes are imposed by Provincial Governments and Provincial 
Legislatures and we are loath to criticise them. But we are satis- 
fied that it does act as a great hardship on the class of people who 
have very little leisure at their disposal and who resort to the 
cinema for spending the little leisure they have. Again, the 
cinema in their cases is a necessary relaxation after the hard life 
they are obliged to lead, and in many cases, perhaps, the 
cinema habit keeps them from mischief. So it is better to encour- 
age the cinema habit in their case provided sufficient care is taken 
that the films shown are not open to very serious objections, for 
which the censorship is the effective machinery. We therefore 
recommend that in any event seats costing less than Re. 1 should 
be -exempt from such taxes. We have to point out that we find 
no justification whatever for the distinction made in one of the 
provinces, namely, in Bengal, between the stage and the cinema. 

188. The question of increasing the number of travelling or 

itinerant cinemas and giving them facilities 
Travelling cinemas i s one of great importance in view of the fact 

JSrninS ^ tliat tlie mbel ' of permanent cinemas is not 
large and that they are not so paying to the 

exhibitor in the mofussil as in the large towns. We consider the 
travelling cinemas ought to be more and more encouraged. It 
was Very difficult in several places to obtain an accurate list of 
the people who were travelling about with cinema shows. We 
were able to get at some of them in Calcutta. From their evidence 
it appears that these travelling cinemas are subjected to a great 
deal of inconvenience and expense by having to take out more 
than one license for the purpose of their business during their 
progress from district to district, from municipality to munici- 
pality, and sometimes from province to province. This involves 
heavy expenditure for these poor exhibitors and subjects them to 
much inconvenience. We, therefore, .recommend that the Cinema 
Act should be so amended as to provide that the exhibition license 
required by the Act shall, in the case of travelling cinemas, have 
currency at least throughout the province in which it is taken. 
The license should contain conditions to safeguard public safety, 
and when the itinerant cinema proprietor goes on tour he must be 
required to give timely notice to the local licensing authority 
of his proposal to hold an exhibition in a specified place in that 
area, so that the authorities may satisfy themselves that the condi- 
tions as to public safety are complied with before the exhibition 
opens. From what we have gathered during our enquiry in all 
the provinces these travelling cinemas are not a very paying pro- 
position. Moreover, we are convinced that cheap secondhand old 
films find their way into the country through these travelling 
cinemas. As in another place we have dealt with the use of the 
cinema for mass education and the great improvements required 


we will merely refer here to what we consider should be done to 
improve the quality of the films shown by the travelling cinemas. 
These people should be supplied free of cost, subject to their 
return in good condition, with practical educational films and they 
should be required to show such films for a certain length of time. 
Further they should be afforded facilities for exhibiting them in 
the public halls or school halls in the locality. If the travelling 
cinemas can help forward such propaganda, as well as provide 
healthy amusement in the shape of comics and other films of 
" entertainment value," they will become more and more popular 
and will perform a very useful function in the country. We are 
strongly of opinion that they should not be subjected to payment 
of other license fees in municipal areas. Rules as to the exemp- 
tion of educational establishments from local rates should also 
apply to these institutions. They should also receive concessions 
in railway fares as in the case of theatrical troupes for carrying 
their equipment about. We would recommend that particulars 
of licenses issued to these travelling cinemas should be communi- 
cated to the Central Bureau for registration,, and that the 
licensees should also be themselves registered in the same way as 
other exhibitors. 

The Foreign Market. 

189. We have hitherto dealt with the question of the develop- 

ment of the Indian film industry with a 

Countries with an view to its expansion in the home market. 

Indian population. -OXTTT-X ixi, -- r 

But it India is to reach the position 01 

other well-established countries in the matter of the film industry 
with a foreign outlet different considerations arise. It is univer- 
sally admitted that the Indian films even the best of them, as 
they are at present, with all the improvements which have taken 
place are not likely to have an appeal outside the country, to 
Western audiences. In places like Ceylon, East Africa, the Fede- 
rated Malay States, and possibly South Africa also, where Indians 
are settled in large numbers, there will be a limited market even 
for these films. And we have been told that attempts are being 
made to extend the market in that direction and that some 
negotiations are taking place. A few have actually been shown 
as far afield as Africa. 

190. But as regards the production of films of universal appeal 

there are considerable difficulties in the way. 
f UniV It has l^en stated to us in evidence, and 

we believe there is some truth in it, that 
what appeals to the Indian or Burman is not likely to appeal to 
the Westerner. Careful choice of subjects which would be of 
universal appeal has to be made and they have to be handled 
in such a way as to appeal to Western tastes. And it is that 
selection and treatment which perhaps may not appeal universally 
to the people of the country. 

We have heard of a few attempts to exhibit films in the 
West and they have been failures. The film "Savitri," an Indian 
subject, entirely produced in the West by Western artists, was 

a success in India on account of the nature of the subject. But 
we are not aware whether it commanded any success in any of 
the Western countries. 

191. The " Light of Asia " alone has been tried in parts of 

the West with some success, especially in 

The " Light of Asia.- gome parts Q the continent of Europe. ,We 

have had conflicting accounts about its popularity and box-office 
value from different persons who have been in one way or other 
connected with that film. It was a film produced by an Indian 
company formed in Delhi, with Indian finance. The ac- 
tors and actresses were mostly Indians and it was based 
on the life of Buddha, a subject which is well-known, at 
least among the cultured classes, in the West. German artists 
8 nd British business people were also concerned in the transact ion. 
While the shooting of most of the scenes took place here, the de- 
velopment and printing were done out of the country. It does not 
appear to have been a success in England financially. None of 
the key or important theatres took it up and there have been 
varied explanations for that fact. Although it is more than two 
ynar> since the film was produced the Indian capitalists who financ- 
ed the concern are still to the bad to the extent of Us. 50,000. 
That there Lave been some internal quarrels and differences among 
the promoters is clear enough from the evidence. It should have 
been a first-class test case to find out whether Indian films, pro- 
perly handled and capably produced, would have the chance of 
a market abroad. But unfortunately the circumstances attend- 
ing its failure in that direction are such that we cannot draw any 
safe con elusions from its history. 

There is no insuperable reason why well-produced and well- 
handled Indian films should not appeal to the West. But for 
the time being, till the home market has been well developed, 
and the indigenous industry has been placed on a sound footing, 
there is little chance of the indigenous film finding a market 

192. We are unanimously of the opinion that primary atten- 
tion should be paid to the developing of the 

Combination of home market. But at the same time we 
thillk earnest Attempts should be made for 
combined effort in the direction of produc- 
ing some very good films which may also appeal to the West. 
Here co-operation between Western artists and Eastern artists 
and Western and Eastern business men is absolutely necessary. 
The majority hold that a film produced in India, dealifig with an 
Indian subject in an Indian setting, entirely by foreign corpo- 
rations of individuals, using perhaps Indian crowds and a few 
actors or actresses here and there, cannot be looked upon with 
favour nor encouraged. The Indian interest should predomi- 
nate in such a concern. Then only the Indian will have the op- 
portunity of learning the best side of the various aspects of the 

193. Occasional employment of actors and actresses and use of 

the crowds in the country which can be 
combination 8 Wnd f easil .X B^erecl together is 'not of any sub- 

stantial benefit to the country or the in- 
dustry. The powerful American or German organisations could 
step in and produce such films with ease. But if India is to gain 
a reputation abroad for the film industry, unless her children are 
predominantly responsible for the production of the films, it will 
not be the Indian who will get the credit and the reputation but 
the non-Indian combines. Our eventual aim should be that the 
producer in India, in addition to making a large number of 
money-making films for Indian consumption, which is absolutely 
essential for the prosperity of the industry, should also make a 
few pictures which shall stamp our producing centres as capable 
of fine individualistic work. Then only the public taste in the 
country will be improved, the technique of the industry as a 
whole will be advanced, and permanent good will be done. 

194. It is however necessary that some restrictions should be 

placed and conditions imposed before Iii- 

Restrictions on non- ^ ma t er ials and Indian settings are 
Indian enterprises. ,, , , ~, , , T j mi- 

allowed to be filmed by non-Indians. The 

industry will welcome the co-operation of the talent and experi- 
ence of the West. But it cnn only be on certain terms. It is a 
very difficult question as to how best to attain this object. We 
cannot absolutely prevent non- Indians coming of their own accord 
and taking films in this country. We can only subject them to 
certain conditions, as we have already stated, as to registration, 
declaration and censorship. We can impose additional restric- 
tions and conditions only in the case of those people who wish to 
avail themselves of the facilities, privileges and concessions 
which can be granted either by Government or Governmental 
authorities. In surli rases the provisions we have made already in 
the definition of an "Indian film" and of an "Indian company" 
for purposes of quota should apply. Then the Indian represen- 
tation in the production of the industry will have been assured. 
We have tried to limit the restriction as much as possible, as we 
are satisfied that there is a necessity for foreign assistance in 
developing the industry, and within those restrictions we con- 
sider that the formation of partnerships or companies to produce 
Indian films, both for home consumption and for exhibition 
abroad, should be easy. 

195. One recent instance of a combined effort for producing 

,, -, . a film to be styled " Shiraz " has come 

" Shiraz." . , . J ,, . , * 

to our notice -trom the evidence of 

Mr. Himansu Rai, the gentleman connected also with the pro- 
duction of the " Light of Asia." It must be mentioned here 
that the Great Eastern Film Corporation at Delhi has not follow- 
ed up the " Light of Asia " with any other production and as a 
producing company it exists only in name. From the descrip- 
tion given by Mr. Himansu Rai of the terms and condition? 


under which this partnership is working for producing "Shiraz" 
the majority of us are not satisfied that that is the sort of com- 
bination which should he looked for or desired. In this concern 
the finance is entirely mm-Imliaii and, except for shooting' scenes 
in India with the help of casually engaged actors and actresses, 
the entire work of production is done out of the country. The 
original scenario,, written years ago by an Indian, has been bought 
outright. The whole business management is non-Indian. All 
the experts excepit one are non-Indian and scarcely any Indian 
has any interest in the profits. It is purely an accident that 
any Britishers are concerned in tin's enterprise. According to 
Mr. Himansu Rai's evidence, had the original negotiations with 
Germans fructified the predominant interest would 'have been 
German. If this sort of enterprise were considered deserving of 
encouragement what is there to prevent America from embarking 
upon such entei prises here ? It is true that Mr. Himansu Hai 
says he tried to get Indians to lake a financial interest in this 
venture of his and failed. 

By all means let non-Indians come into the country and 
produce films, whether for consumption here or abroad, subject to 
tlie ordinary rules of registration, declaration and censorship, 
and provided the requirements of the quota system are satisfied 
there is no objection also to their establishing theatres or circuits 
in the country. But, without such a safeguard, it will not be 
in the best interests of the Indians engaged, in the industry or 
of the Indian public to encourage, by giving aid or facilities of 
any kind, non-Indians to use the materials, the talent, the 
scenery, the literature and the history of the country and to 
erect cinema houses. 

General conclusions. 

196. In conclusion we have to point out that the cinema con- 

tributes its share of income to the general 

The industry should revenues of the country and having regard 
SSSJi?SitmS *? if Y reat ^P-tonoe in every respect we 
from Government. strongly recommend to Government that 

the industry and trade should receive lib- 
eral and sympathetic treatment at their hands. 

197. Speaking on the influence of American films on the 

^ British people Viscount Peel couOd leo-i- 

Presorvation of j i j <* n , .T 

national ideas. innately and successfully appeal m the 

House of Lords to the British public in 

these terms: " We have our own typical civilisation and have 
our own standards and it surely is unfortunate that this vast 
range of influence should shower on our people through foreign 
rather than through domestic sources." How much more has 
India to complain about this foreign domination and grip on her 
obildren when her civilisation and standards are far more typical 
and are fundamentally different from all that is Western?' And 
all American and European films of whatever nationality are to 

her merely Western. We find evidence throughout, more espe- 
cially in cities, of the eft'ect on the sentiment, habits and thoughts 
of the people of the constant exhibition of Western films. 

198. Customs, as well as the demand for goods, are being 

largely influenced by changes in ideas and 
andYasfel f CUSt mS fashions other than those associated with 

Indian habits ; and later such preferences 

are without much comment accepted as desirable, and these films 
have undoubtedly played a part in moulding the public taste in 
many directions in the larger cities. 

199. Different observers may attach different degrees of im- 

portance to these factors but undoubtedly, 
Un " *" of P* *7 thoughtful 

generation . fl 

Indians, the influence on the minds and 

sympathy of the rising general ion is by far the most important. 

KxmmTotts' QUOTA. 

This is only a rough outline for a quota scheme. At the 
hands of those who favour a quota it is open to considerable im- 
provement and it is also open to destructive criticism by those who 
are opposed to any quota. The majority recommend that as soon 
as the principle is accepted, a small committee of three, includ- 
ing a representative of the t\;ade, should be asked to sit and 
devise a tolerably workable scheme. We have the British Act 
and Hides thereunder for guidance. The majority consider it 
unnecessary to go into greater details now at this stage. 

1. The rules as to quota will apply only to all exhibitors 
who have not in the year immediately preceding the year under 
consideration shown at least 50 per cent of Indian registered films, 
that is to say, a person to be exempt should have shown Indian 
films to the extent of 50 per cent of the total footage of registered 
films to the extent of 50 per cent of the total footage of registered 
any city, town or village, for that year. 

Explanation. If the same person owns or has taken on lease 
more than one theatre in the same city, town or village, the 50 
per cent required may be arrived at by taking the total footage 
shown in all the theaties put together. 

2. Every exhibitor to whom these rules apply shall from the 
beginning of" the year 1930 exhibit 5 per cent more Indian 
registered films; i.e., in the succeeding year, he must show more 
Indian films in addition to the quantity of Indian films he may 
have shown the previous year to the extent of 5 per cent of the 
total footage of all registered films exhibited by him in the pre- 
vious year in the theatre or theatres belonging to him or leased 
by him in any city, town or village. 

The explanation to Rule 1 will apply to this also. 


iis rule will automatically cease to apply as soon as he lias 
reached the level of 50 per cent under rule 1 and will apply 
again in case he fails to keep up to the level of 50 per cent year 
after year. 

3. For the purposes of calculating the respective footages the 
rules in the British Act will apply. 

4. Any exhibitor failing to comply, with the requirement of 
rule 2 shall be liable on conviction to punishment as in the 
British Act. 

5. Definition of 

(a) An Indian registered film (vide below). 
(6) llegistered partnership or company (vide below). 
The definition of a film shall be the same as in the British 

(j. Similar provisions 1o those in the British Act shall be 
adopted for 

itinerant cinemas ; 
change of ownership; 
programmes, returns and registers ; 
grant of exemption and lawful excuse. 

7. The Central Advisory Committee shall perform the functions 
allotted to the Board of Trade and shall appoint a sub-committee 
of three to perform the functions referred to herein. 

8. Indian films released for public exhibition from and after 
the 1st January 1927 shall be entitled to qualify for quota. 

9. Two or more independent exhibitors in any city, town or 
village can combine for the purpose of satisfying the requirements 
of these rules, provided that all of them are pecuniarily interested 
to the extent of at least 25 per cent in each theatre when their 
interests are not equal. 

10. Every itinerant cinema shall from 1st January 1930 show in 
any place through which it travels at least 20 per cent of Indian 
registered films. 

11. Provincial executive authorities dealing with censorship 
shall also deal with these rules as to quota and be the local agents 
for the Central Advisory Committee. 

12. A film should be deemed to be an Indian film if, but not 
unless, it complies with all the following requirements: 

(a) (i) It must have been made by a person who was at the 
time the film was made a British Indian subject or by two or 
more persons each of whom was a British Indian subject or by an 
Indian company. 

(ii) A non-Indian permanently domiciled in India shall 
be deemed to be an Indian within the meaning of this clause. 

(b) The studio scenes must have been photographed in a 
atudio in the Indian Empire. 

(c) The author of the scenario, if he is not an expert 
attached to the Central Bureau, must have been a British Indian 


subject at the time the film was made, or, if lie is nut a British 
Indian subject, must have resided continuously for a period of 
not less than seven years in India at the time the film was made. 
(d) Not less than 75 per cent of the salaries, wages arid 
payments specifically paid for the labour and services in the 
making of the film (exclusive of payments in respect of copy- 
right and of the salary or payments to one non-Indian actor or 
actress or producer or technician, but inclusive of the payments to 
the author of the scenario) must have been paid to British Indian 
subjects or persons permanently domiciled in India, but it shall be 
lawful for the Central Bureau and Advisory Committee to relax this 
requirement in any case where they are satisfied that the maker 
has taken all reasonable steps to secure compliance with the 
requirement and that his failure to comply therewith was occa- 
sioned by exceptional circumstances beyond his control, but so 
that such power of relaxation shall not permit of the percentage 
aforesaid being less than 70 per cent. 

Every film which is not an Indian film shall be deemed to be 
a foreign or non-Indian film. 

13. The expression "Indian company'' means a company con- 
stituted under the Indian Companies Act of 1913 with rupee 
capital and not less than two-thirds of the directors of which are 
Indian or British Indian subjects. 

14. It shall be lawful for the Governor-General in Council 
to extend the privileges and protection afforded to Indian films 
herein to those produced by subjects of Indian States on his being 
satisfied that by compliance with prescribed rules the States in 
question have qualified themselves for the purpose. 

15. (a) The expression "maker" in relation to any film means 
the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the produc- 
tion of the film are undertaken. 

(6) The expression " producer " in relation to any film 
means the person responsible for the organisation and direction 
of the scenes to be depicted on the film. 

1G. These rules shall icmairi in force for ten years commencing 
from 1st January 1930. 

17. As soon as the Central Bureau begins to function* it shall 
take steps to collect the necessary information for administering 
them from 1st January 1930. The Bureau shall be entitled to 
call for the necessary returns from all exhibitors and shall require 
Indian producers to register their films for purposes of quota. A 
small fee may be charged for the purpose of registering the films. 

18. All films in circulation, both imported and Indian, during 
the year 1929 shall be reported in a prescribed form to the Central 
Bureau by the exhibitors for each theatre and the Bureau shall 
keep a register of such films for their guidance in administering 
the rules in the first instance. 



200. Neither the survey of the organisation for the exhibition 
of cinemaioWapn films and (lie film produc- 

t,ho suh,"ct'' ta " CO ' iu S iudualry iu India, nor (he consideration 
of the steps to be taken to encourage the 

exhibition of films produced within the Empire and the produc- 
tion and exhibition of Indian films in particular, will be complete 
without an examination of the organisations for the production 
and exhibition of educational films also. The Imperial Conference 
of 1926 expressly referred also to production within the Empire 
of " films of sound educational merit." This aspect of the subject 
has certainly an indirect, if not also a direct, bearing* on our 
enquiry and is of such great importance that we propose to deal 
with it in a separate chapter. 

201. At the outset we wish to distinguish between the use 
of the film in education in the narrower or 
C<msi(kn ' a " technical sense .and ils use in the broader 
sense in educating the adult masses of this 
country in such important subjects as public health and hygiene, 
agricultural operations, cottage industries, and similar mat tens 
as well as its use in bringing before them conditions of life in 
other countries in a word, the use of the film in making the 
people of this country into better, happier and more enlightened 
citizens. Throughout this section of our report we wish to bear 
in mind not only the above considerations but also the beneficial 
effect which will be produced on the Indian cinema industry by 
an adequate, well-thought-out, consistent and co-ordinated policy 
of mass education by means of cinematograph films. Not only 
will such a policy increase the market for Indian films by the 
number of educational films required educational in the broader 
sense as above defined but it will bring into existence the film 
habit where this does not at present exist, and, best of all, it will 
tend progressively to develop an educated taste for good films and 
this cannot but react to the advantage of the Indian cinema 

202. Many persons engaged in education in this country have 
favoured us with evidence on the use of the 

Use of films in c i nema tograph in educational establish- 
schools and colleges. ? > t > i 

ments. It is not our intention to say very 

much about the use of the film in education in this narrow sense 
of the word. The majority of the educationists who appeared 
before us were agreed that the film could be usefully employed 
in educational establishments, chiefly higher educational esiablish- 
ments, in teaching students certain specific subjects, principally of 
the technical kind, bnt none of them would be willing to spend 


money on films if it meant taking that money from their existing 
budgets. They would welcome expenditure on films for educational 
establishments provided such expenditure implied no diminution 
in the sums all ready at their disposal. We agree with these views. 
We think that the film can certainly be employed as a useful 
adjunct to existing educational methods and that, while it can be 
used with advantage in teaching certain specific and mainly 
technical and scientific subjects in the universities and possibly 
in the schools, the scope for its employment decreases rapidly 
as we go down the educational ladder towards primary education. 
We are not prepared, therefore, to recommend expenditure on 
films and projectors in educational establishments where such 
expenditure would have to be provided out of the normal budgets. 
"Until the number of educational establishments of all kinds and 
degrees, the provision of properly trained teachers, the supply of 
equipment, and so on, are far more adequate for the needs of a 
modern progressive nation than is at present the case, we cannot 
but regard these as^the main objects of expenditure on education. 
At the same time we draw the attention of Provincial Govern- 
ments, local self-governing bodies, and public-spirited citizens 
to the desirability of providing for school and college students 
facilities for seeing suitable Mras of an educational value as 
frequently as possible. 

203. Turning now to the use of the cinema in mass adult 
education we would like to draw special 

The cinema in mass a ft e ntion to what is being done in other 

adult education. . A i n /i t i j? 

countries. A perusal of the catalogues of 

educational films produced in all the leading European countries 
and in America will show what a rich variety of subjects has 
already been treated and will impress the reader with a profound 
sense of the educative potentialities of these films. /Tt is clear, 
moreover, that a large number of these films possess a distinct 
entertainment ns well as educative value and that, provided they 
are not shown too frequently or at too great length, their exhi- 
bition can be made interesting and welcome to average audiences 
of adults whose primary object in going to the cinema is amuse- 
ment and entertainment and not education. Educational films 
of the kind we have referred to are at present practically unobtain- 
able in this country. The Committee had the advantage of a 
private view of some of the educational films which Patel & Sons 
of Lahore have stocked. The Chairman and the Secretary had 
the pleasure of being present when the children in Bennett's Girls' 
TTi'o'h School in Veperv, Madras-, had the benefit of a cinema show 
of short educational films exhibited by Gauranera Brothers. Both 
of these agencies as well as Mr. "Karamchand Bulchand of Hydera- 
bad, Sind, complained that they were getting very little 
encouragement in their business in this line. 

We have also read descriptions of such films produced in other 
countries ^ nf l have been struck with the attractive way in which 


simple lessons are conveyed. To mention only a few: "False 
Shame/' "The Wonder of Creation/' "The Manufacture of a 
Motor-car/' "An Operation on a Stomach/' "The Son-in-law 
and the Fat Potatoes" and the like. About every subject that 
can be of use in daily practical life short attractive stories 
embodying the human element are written and filmed. One 
catalogue contains a list of 1,001 such films. 

The Committee have been struck with the vast potentialities 
of the use of the cinema for general mass education. 

204. The exhibition of such films is not a commercial 

proposition and therefore they are not 
Necessity for action imported into, far less are they produced in, 

Se ?H, r c. ment a " d this cmmtr y- clearl y> since the tr ? de 

cannot be expected to purchase and exhibit 

educational films from motives of philanthropy, some Government 
and public fiction is required in this direction. This is- a matter 
in which Government and public authorities and bodies, from the 
Government of India down to the humblest municipality or 
district board, might act with advantage. In every province in 
India sums of money which in the aggregate amount to a com- 
paratively large expenditure are being spent on adult education 
and propaganda and other measures for improving public health, 
sanitation, agricultural methods, cottage indiistries, and so on, 
but we were surprised to find how very little use had been made 
of the film which indeed is far and away the most efficient 
instrument for such propaganda in this country. Some money is 
indeed being spent on the production of films by certain Govern- 
ment departments, but" it is not spent to the best advantage. One 
striking example may be given to illustrate these remarks. During 
our sittings in Calcutta, one of the witnesses who appeared before 
us was Dr. Bentley, Director of Public Health, Bengal. At that 
time a cholera epidemic was raging in Calcutta and Dr. Bentley 
was obviously speaking with deep feeling when he agreed with 
a member of the Committee that if he had only had half a dozen 
copies of a cholera film available, it would have multiplied his 
protective measures manifold. Similarly, in every other subjei-t 
in which Government and local bodies are anxious to instruct the 
public, the film can be used to magnify the scope and efficiency 
of existing propaganda instruments and we therefore press most 
earnestly upon the attention of all these bodies the use of this 

205. Further, we would strongly impress upon all concerned 

ml , the benefits of concerted effort in this matter. 

The need for con- rtt, j.* N tie T 

ccrted action. Co-operation means not only increased 

economy and efficiency but also the improve- 
ment of the trade itself, and in this connection we refer to the 
section of our report which deals with the creation of a Central 
Cinema Bureau. In every province the Provincial Government, 
ministers, heads of departments and local self-governing bodies 


should combine in a common policy for mass education in its 
broadest sense by means of the cinema. A Committee representa- 
tive of all these different bodies and interests might be formed 
in each province in order to lay down a definite concerted scheme 
of mass education by means of the film and all provinces should 
combine to support the Central Cinema Bureau. 

206. Let us examine some of the benefits which will follow 
-n ,. f , such a course of action. In the first place, 
^Benefits of such it will be found possible ultimately to evolve 
a universal harmonious propaganda policy 

for the whole country in certain subjects of the highest value for 
the moral and material welfare of its inhabitants. Secondly, there 
will be no dissipation or waste of resources, no duplication of 
effort and none of the inefficiency or narrowness of outlook which 
is the inevitable result of small and local operations. The best 
brains and the most expert technical knowledge available in the 
country can be employed for the benefit of every part of the 
country. The propaganda value, the technique, and the appeal 
of the films will thus be the very best possible. Above all and 
this is a point to which we draw special attention this propaganda 
work, apart from the quicker and more efficient achievement of 
its immediate objects, can be made into an instrument of untold 
value for harmonising ideals, ideas, customs and practices all 
over the country. It can, in fact, be made into a nation-building 
force in the true sense of those words. The reasons why all pro- 
vinces and departments should combine to establish and support 
a Central Cinema Bureau become therefore clearly apparent. 

But let us consider, not the widest aspect of this subject on 
which we have just trenched, but the advantages which would 
follow from our proposals in the preparation of any ordinary pro- 
paganda film. Suppose a cholera film is being prepared. Part 
of this film would have 110 exclusive connection with Indian 
conditions, still less with any particular part of India. This part 
of the film would be prepared under the supervision of the best 
technical experts of all sorts available in this country. Of the 
' rest of the film, much would be studio work which, again, would 
be done under the best conditions possible in this country and 
those parts of the film which had to be local and peculiar to 
Bengal, the Punjab or any other province, could be shot in the 
required localities, again under the best possible supervision. The 
result would be that each province desiring a cholera film would 
get a film of propaganda value, technique, and effectiveness far 
greater than anything which could have been produced under 
Provincial auspices and' this, too, at a smaller cost than if it had 
been prepared locally. The Central Publicity Bureau of the 
Indian State Railways is already producing railway and public 
utility films. While we welcome and applaud that effort, we are 
confident that a transfer of the technical side of their work to 
the Central Bureau will yield results better in every way. 


207. We believe that it is not necessary to argue this side of 

our report any further. The advantages and 

The value of the benefits of the use of the film in mass edu- 

film for mass educa- cation and in the different sorts of propa- 

tion, especially in . . . r r 

India, is indisputable, ganda which it is the duty ot every modern 

Government to undertake, cannot be denied 

and the necessity for its application to India seems to us^ to be 
equally indisputable. This is a matter in which public' duty, 
national welfare and the development of a cinema industry in 
India go hand in hand. 

208. We spoke earlier in this chapter of the films of educative 

value which have been and are constantly 

films. recommendations are followed, we may ex- 

pect to find a body of films of this character 

coming into existence having been produced in India. One of 
the duties of the Central Cinema Bureau, if it comes into being, 
will be to build up a library of films of educational value, partly 
imported from abroad and partly produced in India. These films 
we desire to be made available to the Indian public and therefore 
we recommend that it should be obligatory on all exhibitors to 
show at every exhibition a small percentage of educational films. 
We recommend that such exhibition should not exceed 15 minutes 
and may be as little as 10 minutes. As we remarked above, many 
of these educational films are of distinct entertainment value and 
we believe that this recommendation of ours \vill involve no 
hardship either to the public or to the exhibitor. As regards the 
latter, we recommend that he be supplied free by the Central 
Cinema Bureau with films of educational value, but if he asks 
for any particular film from the catalogue, which will be sup- 
plied by the Bureau, he shall be required to pay for it at a rate 
to be decided upon between himself and the Bureau. 

209. If Provincial Governments, local self-governing bodies, 
and Government departments adopt the 

exhWtion ^^ * P licy outlinecl albove > tlle .y will > of course, . 
* themselves decide on the best means of ex- 
hibiting the films to the public, and, no doubt, travelling cinemas 
will be largely employed by them, and we expect that they will 
not overlook the wider range and increased .mobility afforded by 
the use of well-equippei motor lorries, such as are used for this 
purpose by certain Government departments in the Punjab. We 
would, however, draw their attention to the desirability of ac- 
quiring or erecting permanent buildings in suitable places for the 
exhibition of educational films buildings which could be used also 
for the exhibitijn of films of purely entertainment value. This 
would be an excellent method of increasing the market available 
for Indian films. 



210. We haVe carefully considered the Resolution passed 

at the Imperial Conference of 1926 together 

w : ith the T uecte ? *? per , s ; We have read 

the proceedings of that Conference as also 
the recommendations of the General Econo- 
mic Sub-Committee on which the said Resolution was based. We 
may say at once that we are unanimously of the opinion that no 
recommendations in the directions indicated at the Conference are 
necessary. In the proceedings of the Conference we note it is 
recognised that circumstances vary in different parts of the Empire 
and we wish to emphasise some of those circumstances which 
apply to India, and particularly those which render the problem 
extremely difficult. 

211. Of the difficulties alluded to above, the first and foremost 

is that, unlike the other parts of the Empire, 

Circumstances pecu- the bulk of the cinema-going public in this 

har (l) Racial" differ- colllltl 7 are Indians ; either Hindus, Muslims, 

ences. Indian Christians, or Burmese. So far as 

these people are concerned, their mode of 

life, standards of conduct, dress and manners, their religion, their 
customs, their history, their traditions, and, in almost every respect, 
their outlook, are entirely and fundamentally different from the 
Western nations. American civilisation is as much Western civili- 
sation to them as British civilisation. Both are foreign. If there 
is a misunderstanding, as has been asserted, of American scenes 
shown in. the films and confusion of them with European civilisation, 
more especially British civilisation, it is because they regard all 
of them as one. This is a recognised fact. If too much exhibition 
of American films in the country is a danger to the national interest, 
too much exhibition of other Westem films is as much a danger. 
In other parts of the Empire, notably in Australia and Canada, 
the patrons of the cinema are members of the same race and 
civilisation as the British with the same historical traditions and 
with the same social habits and customs, and are likely greatly 
to appreciate and enjoy the manners and customs portrayed on 
the film. 

The British social drama is as much an enigma, to the average 
Indian audience as the American. In fact very few Indians can 
distinguish American manners and customs from British manners 
and custoims; very few Indians can distinguish tan American, 
German or Frenchman from an Englishman or Scotchman. If 
the cinema therefore has any influence on the habits, lives and 


outlook of the people all Western films are likely to have more 
or less the same kind of eft'ect upon the people of this country. 

212. Secondly, India has got her own film industry which, as 

we have shown elsewhere, requires to be 

(2) Necessity of protected, guided and encouraged. It is in 
encouraging the * . , > & _ . . ., i x xi x- i 
Indian film industry. l ^ infancy and it is vital to the national 

interest that the indigenous industry should 

be encouraged in every way. There is in Indian history and 
Indian literature a vast muss of material which can appeal to 
Indian audiences and possibly also be entertaining to audiences 
outside. That material has hardly been touched. 

213. Thirdly, while films produced, for example, in Canada 

and Australia would undoubtedly appeal to 

(3) Lack of appeal \Vestern audiences, in Britain for instance, 
of Indian films out- _ '. . / , T ,. i / 
side India. Indian films produced on Indian subjects, 

unless they are of a very superior kind, are 

hardly likely to command any audience in the West. This is 
well known. Although India has been producing a number of 
Indian films during the last 10 or 12 years not one of them has 
yet been taken by the trade in any other part of the Empire and 
for many years to come the Indian or Burmese film is not likely 
to have a universal appeal to any appreciable extent. 

214. Fourthly, India is yet in a very backward state as regards 

her industrial activities and equipment, and 
n " * cielltific aild technical knowledge. She will 

hardly be able to hold her own with Britain, 
for instance, with her centuries of industrial organisation and 
accomplishment. So also she will not be able to compete on equal 
terms or even nearly equal terms, with other parts of the Empire 
where remarkable progress has been ma,de in industrial advance- 

215. Fifthly, the economic condition of the country is not yet 

comparable with that of the other parts of 
diUon Economic c n ~ the Empire. With teeming millions in the 

country, the eaining and spending capacity 

of the Indian hardly compares favourably with that of the citizen 
of other parts of the Empire. With a G million population, 
Australia, as already stated, has 4 times the number of theatres 
which India has, and the citizen there goes to the cinema many 
times more frequently than the Indian is able to do, as we have 
ehown in another place. So also in Canada. 

India can afford but a poor market or outlet for Empire films. 
While, much as we might desire that the films produced in the 
country may have an outlet in the 4,000 theatres in England and 
possibly as many more in other parts of the Empire, the difficulties 
already stated cannot easily be overcome. India stands to gain 
indeed if really her films can find an outlet to an equal extent 
to which Empire films can find an inlet here. But as matters 


are at present and are likely to be for several years, tlie chances 
are too remote to be taken into account in deciding practical 
issues. i 

. In the next and the last place, the question of Imperial 
Preference is so bound up with so ma ay 
(6) Imperial pro- o ther political issues of a very vital and 
rerence a large and i i \- i i_ . -11 n 

complicated question, substantial character that on a small issue 

relating to the cinema industry, even if it 

were an aid to the Indian industry, a view which we do not hold, 
the question cannot be examined satisfactorily. The question is 
in fact bc<und up with issues political, racial, economic and the 
like. For instance, no discussion on the general question of 
preference ^can a\/oid consideration of the status of Indians abroad 
and in India itself. While some of us may believe in Imperial 
Preference we are all agreed that it is a matter which has to bo 
considered in all its aspects as one question covering all the issues 
which arise, and can be decided only by the Central Legislature. 
It is the introduction of this question in the terms of reference 
to this Committee which has, in a great measure, induced the 
suspicions of the people of this country as to the motives of the 
Government in appointing it, and opinions have been freely 
expressed, most unjustly as we consider, that this Committee is 
but a device to bolster up British films. The difficulties attendant 
on this question which we have enumerated have not escaped the 
attention of the Government in India nor of the authorities at 

217. Considering the question on its economic merits also we 

are satisfied that there is no necessity for 
Preference unnecefl- an preferential treatment for the admis- 
sarv . 

sion of British films in this country. The 

chief exhibitors in this country, including Madan's, are not to 
any great extent tied down by that system of blind and block 
booking which prevails in England and in other parts of the 
Empire. Most of them are only too ready to take British films 
and some of the chief exhibitors very often prefer British to other 
films. While, as we have stated, there is a small modicum of 
compulsion in this country also on exhibitors to take films from 
one source alone, still they are generally free to take any films 
which they consider that the public will fancy. Their freedom 
of choice is not materially restricted. 

Further, there are a large number of cinemas in India which 
cater mainly for European audiences. These audiences being 
largely British, have a natural preference for British films. In 
such cinemas a good British film generally draws larger audiences 
than films of other nationalities. Figures supplied to us by one 
of the leading exhibitors showed conclusively that the receipts in 
his theatre from British films were on the average greater than 
those from American or other films. 

A considerable footage of British films is now being imported 
annually by each of the -four leading importers. Moreover, from 


the figures we have examined of the import into India of films 
from the United Kingdoin^compared with those relating to produc- 
tion there during recent years (see Table 15), India may be said to 
have taken an amount nearly equivalent to the whole of the output 
in the United Kingdom. Taking feature films alone, which are 
the chief concern, we find that in 1925 India imported from 
the United Kingdom 20 as against 34 films produced there; in 
1926, 27 against 26, and in 1927, 27 against 48. That is, taking 
all the three years together, against 108 films produced in England 
74 films have been taken. In other words, an amount equivalent 
to 70 per cent of the films produced in England has been imported 
into this country. Examined by footage, the figures are even 
more telling. During the three years 1925 to 1927, the total 
production in the United Kingdom of feature films was approxi- 
mately 648,000 feet, and during the three years 192526 to 1927- 
1928 there passed through the various Indian Censor Boards 
broadly 560,881 feet of British feature films. The total quantity 
of British films imported (including both news and feature films 
and copies) was 596,686 feet in 1925 and 726,222 feet in 1926. 
The figures of production and export to India were furnished to 
us by His Majesty's Trade Commissioner in India. 

There has been no complaint during our enquiry throughout 
India and Burma, either on account of forward contracts or any 
predilections of exhibitors, about British films not gaining admit- 
tance or that any films were refused exhibition in this country. 

218. No artificial aid is therefore needed to advance the British 

film trade in this country. We entirely 

Why nioro British en j orse t i le re marks of the Australian Board 
lilms are not imported. ^ , . in0 r -ri- 

ot Censors in their report tor 1925: It 

fewer British films are imported into this country the reasons are 
generally well known. The prices have something to do with it; 
the quality has something to do with it. Whereas other countries 
have got agencies here, British producers are scarcely represented 
at all." As in Australia, here also there is no accredited repre- 
sentative of the British film industry. When British Empire films 
can show the quality and finish and can be had for the same prices 
as other Western films, there will be no difficulty in those films 
finding such market as is available in this country. In fact the 
old and strong trade connection between India and Britain and 
the natural predilection of Britons in India do give British films 
a definite preference. It ,is no good to India to substitute 
artificially one class of non-Indian films for another. Our aim 
will be, and should be, to remove the non-Indian grip on the 
screen . 

219. We are fully cognisant of the fact that under the Customs 

regulations* prevailing in England films 

csging dU " ee foroign f made t ^ India ei W preferential tariff of 

countries. one-third over films produced outside the 

Empire, and under the rscent Cinema Act 

Indian films can qualify for quota. While most of us are anxious 


to find the means, if possible, by which sentiments actuating 
Britain in passing her legislation may lie reciprocated, the practical 
difficulties which we have stated prevent us from making any 
recommendation in the direction indicated. India needs the 
assistance of all the Western nations for learning the technique 
and art of the industry. Germany, perhaps, holds the field for 
technique and America the first place for organisation and 
excellence. India can ill-afford to estrange countries like Qermary 
or America where she will have to send her sons and daughters for 
training. The Indian market is such a negligible factor to 
America (yielding not more than half of one per cent of her cinema 
revenue) that if she retaliates the Indian film trade is bound to 
suffer. India gets nearly 80 per cent of her imported films from 
America. And notwithstanding the fact that India takes very 
nearly the whole of the output of England, she is only able to get 
less- than 10 per cent of her imported films from there. If to- 
morrow America retaliated by stopping her supplies, as she 
threatened to do in the case of Hungary, the film trade would 
cease to exist and opportunities for learning the technique and art 
of the trade, whether from Germany or America or elsewhere, 
would be lost. India is not yet well equipped in these matters. 
Some of the actors and actresses who have attained distinction in 
the field in this country did so by watching actors and actresses 
on the screen. Compared with the other parts of the Empire, 
India is already taking a large percentage of British Empire films, 
mostly from the United Kingdom, as there is- very little production 
in other parts of the Empire. 

220. India has also ample opportunities of getting into touch 
. with the lives, surroundings, literature and 


with Ssh ideaf Ct Civilisation of Britain and other parts of the 
Empire in her schools and colleges and 

through the day to day functions of Government in which sons 
and daughters of the United Kingdom take such a distinct part. 
The literature of England, both modern and ancient, is available 
to them and nowadays direct intercourse between Britain and 
India is becoming more and more common. For these reasons and 
on account mainly of the consideration that no need has arisen for 
giving any special encouragement or preference to British films, 
we do not make any special recommendations for the purpose of 
encouraging exhibition in India of films produced within the 
British Empire. Even had we derided on an Empire quota for 
India, it is obvious that the whole of it would have to be allotted 
to Indian films. These remarks so far apply to the Empire films 
of " high entertainment value " referred to in the proceedings of 
the Imperial Conference. 

221. As regards the " films of sound educational merit, " we 
fully appreciate and endorse the views of the 

Films of educa- Conference that there is great need for the 
exchange of films of that sort between 
various parts of the Empire. In fact, India stands to gain a great 


deal, on account of the vast illiteracy in the country, by having 
more such films not only from the Empire but also from other 
parts of the world. The standards of life, and the methods adopted 
in other countries in agriculture and other industries, the condi- 
tions of labour in big manufactories, the sanitary methods, the 
civic life of the people, these and other matters if properly shown 
on the screen will go a great way to remove the vast ignorance 
and tend to improve the condition of the people of this country. 
We have emphasised the importance of the more extended exhi- 
bition of such public utility films in another place and we have 
cast ou the Central Bureau the function not only of arranging for 
the production of public utility films in this country but also of 
getting them from abroad and distributing them to the exhibitors. 
222. We consider that these are matters which do not require 
any special or preferential methods and can 

JfffSl owhVST !* ^ ] for by mutual agreements 
between the Governments of the various 

parts of the Empire and other countries. We look to the Bureau 
to devise schemes by which such exchange can be effected. We 
also provide that educational films, in the broad sense of the term, 
should lie imported duty fiee. We, theiefore, strongly recommend 
to the Government that every possible step should be taken to come 
to mutual understandings with the various parts of the Empire 
and with other countries for exchange of films of sound educa- 
tional merit, and also, as we have already stated, to ariange for 
their exhibition, if need be, free of charge through the various 
exhibiting agencies, and make such other special arrangements as 
the Central or Provincial Governments may deem fit to adopt for 
their exhibition. We have elsewhere, by a majority, recommended 
that a modified sort of compulsory quota system should be intro- 
duced into this country to encourage and develop the Indian 
indigenous film industry. So far as British films are concerned, 
as we have already explained, there is no necessity for resorting 
io any artificial aid for their introduction provided that they are 
of fair average quality and that the prices are reasonable. 




223. A few witnesses of advanced views suggested to us that 

public opinion is strong enough to prevent 
f r CeU " the exhibition of undesirable films, and that 
no censorship at all is necessary. The vast 
majority of witnesses, however, consider that censorship is certainly 
necessary in India, and that it is the only effective method of 
preventing the import, production and public exhibition of films 
which might demoralize morals, hurt religious susceptibilities, or 
excite communal or racial animosities. We unnnimoiisly agree 
with the majority view. We also consider that the existing 
censorship has yielded on the whole satisfactory results, but that 
its machinery is capable of improvement. 

224. We will first describe the existing position. The statute 

under which cinema exhibitions are control- 

Statutory basis of led am] fi]ms censore( j j s the Cinematograph 

the censor*,,,. 

Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 1919, and the Devolution Act 
of 1920. The main objects of the Art of 1918 were (1) to provide 
for the safety of audiences, and (2) to prevent the exhibition of 
objectionable films. The pre-existing law relating to (1) was 
scattered over various Provincial Police Acts and Municipal Acts, 
while as regards (2) the only law applicable wns contained in 
sections 292 and 298 of the Indian Penal Code, section 144 of 
the Criminal Procedure Code and rules under tho Presidency and 
Rangoon Police Acts. 

Amendments were made in the Art by the Devolution Act 
(XXXVIII of 1920) by which certain powers given by the original 
Act to the Governor-General in Council devolved upon Provincial 

Control of cinematographs is a Provincial Reserved subject; 
but is subject to legislation by the Central Legislature in regard to 
sanction of films for exhibition [see Devolution Rules, Schedule I, 
Part II, 33 (/)]. 

225. The Cinematograph Act provides that no cinema exhibi- 

^ . . , , tion shall be given except in a place which 

Certification of films. , - TIOIV 4.1 

has been licensed. Such licenses are to be 

granted by the District Magistrate, or, in a Presidency Town or 
in Rangoon, by the Commissioner of Police, unless the Provincial 
Government appoints some other authority. The Act also provides 
that no film shall be exhibited unless it has been certified by the 
proper authority as suitable for public exhibition. Section 7 
provides that any Provincial Government authorised in this behalf 
by the Governor-General in Council may constitute such authorities 



as it thinks fit for the purposes of examining and certifying films 
as suitable for public exhibition. If such authority consists of a 
Board of two or more persons, not more than one-half of the 
members shall be persons in the service of Government. Under 
this section, Boards of Censors have been constituted at Bombay, 
Calcutta, Madras, Rangoon and (very recently) in the Punjab. 
Rules have been made under the Act by each of the five Provincial 
Governments concerned regulating . the certification of films and 
prescribing the conditions of licenses. 

226. Under the Act there is an appeal from the decision of 

. . the Board to the Provincial Government 

Appeals. r .. _, /ox f v-, 

[section 7 (3) ()]. 

227. A certificate granted by any of these Boards of Censors 
Validity of cortifi- valid ihroughout British India; but there 

cation, are the following safeguards, namely: 

(1) A District Magistrate or, in a Presidency Town or 
Rangoon, the Commissioner of Police, is empowered to suspend 
at any time the certificate of any film pending the orders of the 
Provincial Government [see section 7 (5) of the Act] ; and that 
Government can then declare the film to be deemed uncertified 
throughout the province or any part of it. 

(2) The Provincial Government can take this action of its 
own motion. 

(3) A Board of Censors can re-examine any film which has 
already been certified and suspend the certificate in that province 
pending the orders of ihe Provincial Government. 

228. The Bombay Board consists of (1) the Commissioner of 

Police, President ex officio, (2) the Collector 

Constitution of of Customs, ex officio, (3) a member of the 

Boards Bombay. T ,. -m , i L , , A \ 

Indian .Kducational Service, (4) a prominent 

Hindu citizen of Bombay, (5) a prominent Muslim citizen and 
(6) a prominent Parsi citizen. All are appointed by the Govern- 
ment of Bombay. No European is appointed as such, as European 
interests are considered to be adequately guarded by the official 
members, some of whom at least are likely to be Europeans. The 
Board meets not less than twice a month and members present 
receive a fee of Rs. 16 for each meeting. For officially examining 
a film each member receives a fee of Us. 2 per 1,000 feet with a 
minimum of Rs. 10 and a maximum of Rs. 20. The Board's 
stipendiary staff, apart from a clerk and a peon, consists of a part- 
time Secretary, who at present is an Indian, a member of the 
Indian Educational Service, and receives Rs. 350 a month from 
the Board apart from his service salary, and an Inspector on a 
salary of Rs. 300 25 500 plus a conveyance allowance of Rs. GO 
a month. The Inspector is an Indian who possesses a good 
University degree and has travelled in the West. We understand 
that owing to increase in work the Board is about to appoint a 
second Inspector. The Board has a separate office in the Bombay 
Secretariat which is open during ordinary working hours, 


229. The Bengal Board consists of the Commissioner of Police, 

Calcutta, President ex officio, the Station 
enga ' Staff Officer, ex officio, a lady representative 

who is a European, representatives of the Bengal Chamber of 
Commerce and of the Calcutta Trades Association, a Jewish 
merchant, a Muslim Principal representing the Education Depart- 
ment, and a Hindu lawyer representing the Corporation, the total 
strength being eight. A Deputy Commissioner of Police is ex 
officio Secretary, and receives an allowance of Its. 100 a month. 
The Board has a part-time European Inspector, whose substantive 
post is llegistrar of the Bengal Legislative Council, and who 
receives from the Board an allowance of Its. 300 a month. There 
is an additional Indian Inspector whose pay is Us. 100 5 150 
plus a conveyance allowance of Es. 25 a month. The members of 
the Board nnd the Secretary are paid a fee of l{s. 10 for attending 
Board meetings and for sitting on any sub-committee appointed 
to examine films. The Board has no separate office as at Bombay 
but is situated at the Calcutta Police Headquarters. 

230. The Itangoon Board numbers eight, and consists of the 

llangoon (Burma). Commissioner of Police, President ex officio, 

the Assistant Commissioner of Police, ex 

officio, who also acts as Secretary, a military representative, a 
European medical man representing the Vigilance Society, three 
Burmese gentlemen and one Burmese lady. The Board lias no 
salaried staff except a clerk. Each member receives a fee of Ks. 20 
for each meeting attended the Board normally meets once a week 

and lie. 1 per 1,000 feet of films actually examined. 

231. The Madras Board numbers six, and consists of the Com- 

,. , missiouer of Police as ex officio President, 

Madras. .,. i /. r v 

a military representative, and tour Indian 

gentlemen, one of whom is a Muslim. The full Board seldom 
meets; it has no receipts or expenditure of its own, and no staff. 
A sum of money equal to the fees levied for certification is distri- 
buted equally among the members of the Board who examine each 

232. The Punjab Board has only been 
-Punjab. created very recently. 

233. Statutory rules have been made for the certification of 

films by each by the Provincial Governments 

Statutory Rules. conc erned under section 8 of the Act, and 

elaborate conditions have also been laid down in order to ensure 
the safety of the public. A consideration of the latter precautions 
hardly falls within the scope of our enquiry. The rules for certi- 
fication may be briefly summarised as follows. 

234. On receipt of the application, the Secretary shall himself 

examine or depute an Inspector to examine 

Certification proce- ^ e fji m w ithin the period prescribed by the 

for the information of the Board the nature of the film and 
whether in his opinion it is suitable for public exhibition. The 


report shall be placed before the Board vvlio shall decide whether 
the iilm is to be certified for public exhibition or not, it being 
open to the members of the Board to ask that the film be examined 
by a Committee before the Board gives its final decision. 

235. On receipt of the application the Secretary shall depute 

an Inspector to examine the film within a 

-Bengal. period of 7 days who shall report for the 

information of the Board the nature of the film and whether it is 

suitable for public exhibition. The report of the Inspector shall 

be placed before the Board which sliall decide whether the film 

is to be certified or not. 

230. A sub-committee consisting of not less than 2 members 
shall be appointed to examine the film and 
Uuinm. ^j ie re;su jt O f (i lc examination shall be re- 

ported to the President of the Board as soon as possible and, if 
the report is favourable, the President sliall issue a certificate. 

237. Films for certification shall be delivered to the President 

of the Board, who shall himself witness or 
^dcrab. depute one or more members of the Board 

to witness an exhibition of the film within a period of 7 days from 
such delivery. A report thereof shall be made by the President 
or the member or members deputed as aforesaid and such report 
will be placed before the Board who shall decide whether the 
film is to be certified or not. 

238. The Board was only constituted, in the latter part of 

1927, and when we visited the Punjab, it 
~i> 'i j ' 

i unjab. j ia( j narc iiy started to function or to crys- 

tallize its procedure. 

239. Now before we can consider the merits of these different 

procedures, it is necessary to emphasise very 
f titron a >1 y the essential difference between 
the conditions at Bombay and Calcutta on 
the one hand, and at Ilangoon, Madras and Lahore on the other. 
A reference to Tables 8 and 10 appended to this report will show 
that a predominant proportion of the censoring work for all India 
falls to Bombay and Calcutta. In ] 920-27, the last year for 
which we have complete figures, 902 films were censored in Bom- 
bay, 079 in Calcutta, 120 in Ilangoon and only 9 in Madras. The 
total footage examined was approximately Of million, of 
which Bombay examined over 3^ million feet, or nearly 53 per 
cent, Calcutta over 2 million feet or 34 per cent, Eangoon less 
than one million feet or nearly 13 per cent, and Madras only 
22,465 feet or less than | pe.r cent. These figures, it should be 
noted, refer to original examinations of films for certification, and 
do not cover re-examinations of films already certified. Now it 
takes approximately one hour to inspect 4,000 feet of film, so that 
the -average weekly time spent on the primary inspection of films 
in 1926-27 was about 17 hours in Bombay, 11 hours in Calcutta, 
4 hours in Rangoon, and half a minute in Madras. 


2*10. it is only necessary to cast back to the constitution of 

,, ^ , the Boards to understand why the members 

JLtteet on procedure. ,, , , , . i * A i 

themselves are able to conduct the primary 

examination in Burma and Madras, and why this has to be en- 
trusted to the permanent paid stall' of the Boards at Bombay and 
Calcutta. The work is negligible at Madras. The Burma Board 
has eight members, and il each Him is inspected by two members, 
each member will only have an average oi one hour's inspection 
u week. But owing to the large (we think unduly large) amount 
of re-exaniination done by this Board, the demand on the mem- 
bers' time is more than one hour a week. In fact a former member 
of the Board, a lady whom we examined at Karachi, said that 
she often did 3, 4 or even 5 hours' work in a week, and found it 
distinctly trying and tedious. Now if a lady with no profession 
finds less than one hour a day trying, obviously busy official or 
non-official gentlemen would find it even more trying. The 
Bombay Board consists of three officials and three prominent 
Indian public men. If each film w r ere examined by two members, 
each would have had in 1926-27 nearly 6 hours' inspection to do 
every week in the year. Indisposition, business calls or the tem- 
porary absence of one or more from Bombay would of course throw 
a still greater burden on the remaining members. Further, the 
time taken in actually viewing the film is not the only time 
expended. The viewer has to make his way to the place of exhi- 
bition, and in the case of doubtful films, record a note for the 
information of the full Board. He also has to attend the periodic 
meetings of the Board (in Bombay not less than two a month) 
and finally he may have to view films already certified by his 
own or other Boards which have been challenged or criticized. 
Actually members of the Bombay Board personally examined in 
192G-27 as much as 305,557 feet out of the 3,508,094 feet already 
examined by their stipendiary staff. In other words, 8-7 per 
cent of the work of the stipendiary staff was' checked by members 
of the Board. It would be clearly impossible to expect members 
of the Bombay Board, so long as it is constituted as at present, 
to do appreciably more work, and still less personally to view all 
films before certification. The same applies to the Bengal Board, 
though in a slightly less degree, since the Board numbers eight 
and does somewhat less work than Bombay. 

041 Havino- thus described and explained the present 

machinery of the censorship, we must now 

Criticism of the turn to an examination of the various 

cinema and of the cr i t i c isins both of its- results and of its 

censorship-General. procedure- These nave been mentioned in 

our introductory chapter, and as promised there, we will here 
consider them in more detail. The most important criticism is, 
of course, that the exhibition of many films certified by the Boards 
of Censors, has a demoralizing effect on those that see them. 
When we began our enquiry, some of us at least were inclined 


to consider tliut this criticism was well founded. We found, 
however, that it had almost invariably been expressed in general 
terms. We accordingly set ourselves the task of trying to obtain 
from witnesses definite instances of objectionable films, and of the 
type of subject and scene which they considered objectionable. 
We were surprised at our lack of success. Many witnesses predi- 
cated that the cinema wus a demoralising influence, but when 
examined had to admit that they very seldom visited cinemas 
for the very reason that they believed them harmful, inartistic 
or boring. Their logic is obviously vitiated by a pctitio 
yrinciyii. Many more said that the cinema must be demoralising 
because us evidenced "by posters and advertisements, it constantly 
exhibits crime, debauchery, adultery and the like. Very few of 
these witnesses knew the canons of censorship adopted by the 
.Hoards, of which the Bombay Board's ' Suggestions to Inspectors ' 
(printed as Appendix Gr) are typical, or seemed to realise that 
posters and advertisements frequently mislead and exaggerate, 
and that in any case, the aim of the censorship was to excise the 
very scenes to which they took a priori objection. How far the 
censorship has attained its aim will be considered later, but we 
would emphasize that practically .every witness agreed that the 
canons of censorship adopted by the Boards were in every wny 
adequate, provided that they were intelligently and consistently 
applied. With this view we are entirely in accord. 

^42. But even when we discarded the large mass of ill informed 
general criticism of the kind just recited, 
llllisrepro " there remained a considerable body of sober 
opinion, both European and Indian, that 
the cinema unduly emphasises the lower side of life and the cruder 
passions of mankind, and must therefore tend to lower morality 
and to inflame passion. These critics take the view that as pro- 
ducers are out to make money, they deliberately pander to what 
they believe to be the naturally low tastes of the masses who form 
the greater part of their customers, and that as the cinema cannot, 
by its nature, avoid exaggeration, the life represented on the 
screen is but too often a gross misrepresentation of normal life, 
It is no doubt perfectly true that the commercial producer will 
ordinarily produce what he thinks will pay him best, that ha 
caters primarily for the masses and that his aim is to provide 
entertainment and not instruction. Some measure of misrepresenta- 
tion of normal life is the inevitable result, but can hardly be 
objected to unless it does harm. Most stage plays- also do not give 
a true picture of normal every day life ; if they did, their dramatic 
value would be sadly to seek. But the argument is that the 
cinema's misrepresentation does definite harm in India, especially 
to the illiterate and to the adolescent, and even to the educated 
man whose experience is limited to Indian life and conditions. 
This harm is envisaged in two very different ways. The majority 


of the European witnesses who take the view that film misrepre- 
sentation does harm, seem to consider that this misrepresentation 
lowers Western, especially European, civilisation in the minds of 
Indians, and that therefore lite effect is injurious to Europeans. 
In some eases they consider that the result is also injurious to 
Indians. Those Indian witnesses, however, who agree that 
Western life is misrepresented, consider that the misrepresentation 
is definitely harmful to Indian* because it either induces them 
to ignore what is good in Western civilisation or to copy what is 
bad. There is- a further body of conservative Indian opinion 
which definitely fears that the cinema whether it caricatures 
Western civilisation or whether it truly represents it, is tending 
to alienate young India from the old ways and landmarks of 
Indian civilisation and life. As against this, many European and 
a great many Indian witnesses have asserted either that the cinema 
is doing no harm, or at any rate that any possible harm is out- 
weighed many times over by the good. In fact, thoughtful 
witnesses, European and Indian, have definitely pleaded before 
us for a more liberal censorship, on the ground that the cinema, 
by showing different types of civilisation, higher standards of 
living, finer buildings- and the like, tends to open the eyes of 
Indians and to make known to them the good points of Western 
civilisation, and that the educative effect of this is most important. 
Many Indian witnesses have also urged that the cinema is- weaning 
young persons and adults from much less wholesome recreations, 
and in particular instanced the decline of the 'nautch' in public 

243. Now we may say straightaway that after having heard 

witnesses of all kinds from every part of 
No resulting demo- TV i T> fi i i 

ralisation .India and Inirma, alter having seen a large 

number of films including some which had 

been banned, after having attended numerous public shows at 
which we carefully studied various types of audiences and their 
reactions to various types of films, we are without exception satis- 
fied that the overwhelming majority of films certified for public 
exhibition in no way tend to demoralise the Indian public, or to 
bring Western civilisation into contempt. Later we will mention 
the exceptions. We have been profoundly impressed by one 
fundamental similarity of Indian audiences in all parts of this 
vast country, a similarity which they no doubt share with audiences 
the world over. With them 'the play's the thing.' They go 
to see a play enacted before their eyes, and to partake vicariously 
in the emotions of the players. They applaud the hero and the 
heroine, and enjoy the discomfiture of the villain, with no arriere 
pensee, and it matters little to them to what country, race or 
religion the hero, heroine or villain belongs. We have witnessed 
this with our own eyes. A striking example was afforded by the 
audience in a cheap cinema in Madras, where an old-fashioned 
serial was being exhibited, The white heroine in every reel was 


being persecuted by a cosmopolitan band of villains whose leader 
was an Oriental and whose rank and file comprised other Orientals. 
Whenever the white hero made a timely appearance or the h.eroine 
escaped from the toils, spontaneous applause broke forth, and on 
one occasion when the screen showed the heroine about to fall 
into the hands of her Oriental persecutor an excited voice cried 
out in Tamil "Look out, Miss, look out!" No more convincing 
argument could be adduced to show that the sympathies of Indian 
audiences are not alienated or seriously affected by the portrayal 
on the screen of a life that is strange to them, always provided 
that an appeal is made to their human emotions. This proviso 
in effect stipulates that the audience will adequately understand 
the plot and its incidents. Despite some evidence to the contrary 
we are fully satisfied that Indians gain the cinema sense very 
quickly the uneducated sometimes more quickly than the edu- 
cated and adequately understand at least the more straight- 
forward film plays. The type of play that the ordinary Indian 
audience does not understand and does not like is the more subtle 
social drama, specially what is known as the sex drama. It is 
exactly this kind of film that is alleged to depreciate Western 
life in the eyes of the Indian. We witnessed several such films 
being exhibited to nearly empty houses with hardly an Indian 
present. We are satisfied that they do not attract Indians, except 
perhaps the educated Indian who can see them in their true pers- 
pective as dramas not necessarily true to life, and that they do 
no harm worthy of notice to European interests. It must be 
remembered that the type of Indian who sees any film at all is 
normally an inhabitant of a large city or one in which there are 
European residents. Either he understands the difference between 
European and his own life and customs, in which case he is not 
likely to misinterpret what he sees on the screen, or else he does 
not understand those differences and is likely to misinterpret them 
when seen in real life. Such a man or woman is no doubt often 
.amazed and shocked by such commonplaces of Western life as the 
emancipation of women, their free social intercourse with men, 
their sports, their dances and even their dress. If he sees a 
representation of all this on the screen, it will hardly shock him 
further; it may on the other hand and we believe it does lead 
him to understand that different customs and ways of life do not 
necessarily connote either madness or immorality. Time and 
education the latter partly supplied by the cinema itself are the 
best remedies for any misunderstanding that may occur. Thus 
the Punjab Government, though it believes that Western civili- 
sation is presented by the cinema in a distorted form and is 
misunderstood by Indians, hold -that this cannot be remedied by 
censorship, and that the difficulty must be experienced until the 
present type of film is superseded by a better type. The Bengal 
Government take the view that films which are objectionable on 
the ground that they misrepresent Western civilisation are generally 
also objectionable on the ground that they are demoralising to 


the public, though even when this is not so, they would like them 
excluded. They are, however, satisfied that the Bengal Board 
already excludes films which are objectionable in this way. The 
Government of Bombay is also satisfied with the work of its Board. 
Similarly the European Association, and indeed a large nximber of 
European witnesses, take the view that though films are misunder- 
stood to some extent they do not know of any undesirable results 
from this. The same view has been expressed by prominent news- 
papers, edited by and primarily for Europeans, notably the Times 
of India. The whole matter was admirably summed up by 
Mr. N. P. A. Smith, an officer of the Imperial Police Service 
and head of the Sind C.I.D., the whole of whose evidence 
impressed us greatly. "If any slight misunderstanding/' he wrote, 
"exists and lowers the public conception of Western civilisation, 
it is surely wiser to let time and education provide a truer pers- 
pective and a saner demand rather than to attempt to sanctify 
a civilisation, which, like all others, is humanly imperfect/' 

244. Another not uncommon criticism of the cinema is that 
by showing crime and the modus operandi 

neflfgfble ^ ^'^ of criminals > ^ induces its frequenters to 
criminal ways and suggests new ways of 

committing crime. The frequent portrayal of criminals using 
motor-cars, for example, was at times held out to us as an example 
of this. But the motor-car has penetrated further into India than 
the film, and the criminally disposed can learn from real life at 
least as well as from the films. The London Times in its issue 
of 23rd August 1923 actually stated that a little while earlier - 
there had been "definite proof that the abduction by natives of 
an officer's wife was su^ested by a serial film in which scenes 
of violence occurred." We huve sought in vain for any evidence 
to this effect, and the responsible police authorities of the North- 
West Frontier Province, the province no doubt alluded to, laughed 
the tale to scorn. In fact every responsible police officer in every 
province assured us that in their judgment the cinema had had 
no effect whatever on crime or its methods. A person with criminal 
propensities might, they admitted, occasionally get an idea from 
a film, but given those propensities, his natural abilities or 
observations would be much more likely to be a source of action. 
There is little doubt that sometimes prisoners untruthfully plead 
the influence of the cinema as an extenuating circumstance, in this 
country as in others, and this makes a good headline for the more 
sensational press. A Bombay trade witness actually showed us 
a headline in a local paper attributing a crime to cinema influence, 
although the body of the report contained nothing whatever to 
justify such an attribution. Again we invite a reference to the 
Bombay " Siiggestions to Inspectors." Suggestion 5 (a) specifically 
lays down that those films are liable to objection which "extenuate 
crime : or which familiarise young people with crime so as to 
make them conclude that theft, robbery and crimes of violence 
are normal incidents of ordinary life and not greatly to be 



reprobated : or which exhibit the actual methods by which thieves 
carry out their purposes and make the methods of crime the chief 
theme; or in which crime is the dominant feature of a serial and 
not merely an episode in the story." The fact that the police 
believe with such unanimity that the cinema does not incite to 
crime is proof of the soundness of this canon of censorship and 
of its adequate enforcement. The police evidence is to our minds 

245. It may be asked how it is, if the censorship is functioning 

satisfactorily, that there is any criticism of 
genesis f criti " it- We have already pointed out that 
much of the criticism has been ill-informed. 
If the leading English newspaper can make mistakes like that 
just cited, if a prominent business man and Member of Parlia- 
ment can inveigh against the false impressions of English history 
created by American films, and quote instances from "Nell Gwyn" 
which happens to be an English production, * it is not surprising 
that similar mistakes have been made in India. But there are 
two other main reasons why criticism has raised its head. The 
first is that no censorship can be perfect or can meet with univer- 
sal approbation quot homines tot sententiae and that scenes 
must at times slip through which on a second viewing the censor 
himself might find questionable. The second reason is that there 
has undoubtedly been a great amount of trade propaganda with 
the object of discrediting American productions, and a necessary 
part of this propaganda was to assert that the Indian censors 
could not be doing their work properly, as they certified for 
exhibition so many of these "objectionable" American films. 
We will deal with these two points in order. 

246. Now in all communities are *to be found some puritans 

and ultra-conservatives and some freer- 
^Scenes of passion, thinkers and ra aicals. No censorship can 

satisfy either the extreme right or the 

extreme left but must aim at satisfying the average man. The 
average man is indeed hard to find in India, but the average man 
of most, if not all, the leading communities has presented to us a 
very similar view-point, and that is that the censor has made few 
lapses. The only general complaint made by moderate men in 
which we consider there is any substance is that certain classes of 
film-scenes showing passionate love-making have a tendency to 
demoralise the youth of the country. And we have reason to 
believe that such films cause distinct apprehensions in the minds of 
some conservative and thoughtful Indians. Here again we would 
point out that the Bombay ' ' Suggestions to Inspectors" lay down 
a suitable guide, but we think that in pome such cases the censors 
might justifiably have been a little more severe. We have not 
witnessed any film to which serious objection could be taken, and 
indeed we have witnessed films on which the censors owing to th 
presentment of scenes of passion have been perhaps unduly 

* Vide page 32 of " Facts, Films and Forecasts " by V Estrange 
Fawcett; a British author, 

severe. But in a few instances we have felt that scenes showing 
long lingering kisses and passionate embraces, especially where 
emphasised by the fashionable expedient of the "close up", 
might well have been cut or abbreviated by the censor. On even 
rarer occasions too, -we have seen scenes of drinking orgies and 
the like which might with advantage have been shortened. We 
however wish to make it quite clear that we regard these cases 
hardly as lapses of the censorship, but rather as instances in 
which a difference of opinion is honestly possible and sometimes 
inevitable, or as the occasional errors to which all human institu- 
tions must be liable. Our only recommendation therefore to the 
present or any future censoring authorities, as touching this matter, 
is that suggestive impropriety in dress, conduct and love-making 
should be somewhat more jealously discountenanced. We say 
this not because such scenes harm European interests or Indian 
morals in particular, but because they may have a tendency to 
corrupt the morals of adolescents of all communities. Nor must 
we be -understood to suggest that all scenes of low life, even all 
repellent scenes, should be bann.ed. The picaresque is a recog- 
nised form of art, and a drama of low life may easily teach a 
higher moral than a representation of the high and mighty. We 
cannot, for example, understand why the Bengal Board after 
certifying a film called "The Hat" should have refused to 
certify its sequel "'The Triumph of the Hat." We viewed both 
films, which we would add in passing were British films possess- 
ing an admirable technique, and unanimously thought that if 
either film deserved to be banned, it was the former rather than 
the latter. We do not agree that "The Triumph of the Eat," 
though it exhibits low life in Paris, is of a low moral tone, or can 
demoralise European or Indian audiences, or lower the good name 
of Western civilisation, and theiefore we consider that the 
Bombay Board correctly exercised its statutory duty in certifying 
the film with a few excisions despite their knowledge of the 
Bengal ban. But it is only fair to say that in appeal the 
Government of Bengal supported the view of the Bengal Board. 
How such differences of opinion can best be adjudicated will be 
discussed later. 

247. We have cited trade propaganda as a source of criticism. 

We do not suggest that trade propaganda 
and^Hvalr Pr Paganda is legitimate in itself, but obviously a 

man with wares to sell is not likely to lose 

any opportunity of criticising the wares of his rival. The British 
film industry very naturally wishes to recover the position which! 
it held in the film world prior to the war, but when it attempts 
to show that the films produced in America are in one way or 
another inferior or harmful, the cautious man will bethink him 
of the adage that all is fair in love and war. The article in the 
Times which we have already cited lays emphasis on the fact 
that the " objectionable " films are of American origin. A fort- 
night later it printed a letter from the General Secretary, British 

National Film League, stressing the same point. Early in 1926 
the Federation of British Industries urged that American films 
are "detrimental to British prestige and prejudicial to the 
interests of the Empire, especially in the Dominions which con- 
tain large coloured populations. " The Tiines of India' 's comment 
on this was "American films should certainly be fought by business 
competition, but to try to suppress them by a hypocritical plea for 
Imperial welfare is merely ridiculous/ 7 These and similar instances 
explain to our mind the genesis of much of the criticism of the 
cinema in India. Further, a careful study of the facts has satisfied 
us that much of this criticism had its origin outside India, and 
sprang from persons who were either not conversant with Indian 
conditions or who had fixed convictions not based on facts. A 
criticism of the latter type must now be examined. 

. Towards the end of 1926 the British Social Hygiene 
Council, Incorporated, sent to India a 

The Social Hygiene Delegation consisting of Dr. David Lees and 

SSm. lll - mtormed Mrs. C. Neville Eolfe. Shortly before 

leaving India after a tour in India and 

Burma, Mrs. Itolfe in an interview deplored the effect of the 
cineina, and the delegation subsequently addressed memoranda 
thereon to the Government of India and to certain Provincial 
Governments. The Indian Committee of the British Social 
Hygiene Council also submitted to us direct a written statement, 
and Sir Charles McLeod, Bart., was good enough to give oral 
evidence as their nominee. The most striking pronouncement of 
the Delegation's memorandum is its opening paragraph, which 
runs : "In every province and State visited by the Delegation 
the evil influence of the cinema was cited by educationists and 
the representative citizens as one of the major factors in lowering 
the standard of sex conduct, and thereby tending to increase 
the dissemination of disease." In every place where we took 
evidence we patiently tried to discover the educationists and 
representative citizens who had put this view before the Delega- 
tion. We particularly questioned Directors of Publio Health, 
medical practitioners, and ladies and gentlemen connected with 
education and with social work. We will quote some typical 
replies. The Director of Public Health, Punjab, said "So far 
as we are concerned, there is absolutely nothing to substantiate 
that statement" (i.e., regarding the dissemination of disease). 
His Bengal colleague, who actually met Mrs. Rolfe, declares: "I 
have nothing in my experience to support a statement like that." 
The Madras Director says " The Delegation met us frequently. 
I do not know where they got their information from. They 
never mentioned the subject to me. I would not have agreed 
with their views. As far as my experience goes, things are quite 
different." Lieut-Col. Gidney, I. M.S., told us that he had discus- 
sed the matter with Mrs. Eolfe, and added "I entirely disagree with 

il 1 ? 

that view except that possibly such suggestive films may stimulate 
uncontrolled passions. She told me it was a conviction with her." 
Miss Cornelia Sorabjee also met the Delegation, and speaking 
on behalf of the Federation of University Women in India says 
with reference to the paragraph quoted "We never gave them 
that impression, nor did they ask us about it." At last, in 
Mandalay, a witness told us that after Mrs. Eolfe had given 
\three lectures she held a conference at which the Headmaster of 
a school declared that the cinema was demoralising the people, 
and gave her two copies of posters which he had drawn. Then 
a resolution was passed more or less in the sense of the opening 
paragraph of the Delegation's memorandum. One or two other 
witnesses told us that Mrs. Itolfe had shown them a few sugges- 
tive posters. We had hoped to obtain from Sir Charles McLeod 
further evidence as to the facts and opinions on which the 
Delegation had formed its view, but he prefaced his evidence by 
stating that the memorandum submitted direct to us by the 
Council was based on particular evidence that the delegates from 
the Council gathered during their stay in India, and added "I am, 
therefore, to start with, saying that it is not necessary, and I 
am not prepared to answer any question you may ask as to where 
this came from." Now when a responsible institution makes 
serious charges against another institution and the Delegation 
has in effect made serious charges against the Indian Boards of 
Censors it is only natural to expect that those charges will bo 
supported by evidence. The Government of India tried to get from 
the Delegation particulars about films which "had been rejected by 
large cities in England but were or had recently been in circula- 
tion in India and Burma" but the attempt did not prove success- 
ful. The Council has been given every opportunity of supporting 
its allegations before us, but has in effect declined to do so. 
We recognise that the Council's own memorandum does not go 
as far as their Delegation's memorandum, which apart from the 
particular statement already criticised makes other very doubt- 
ful statements and contains one distinct misstatement of facts, 
but even the Council's memorandum alleges that "emotional" 
films tend to promote in India a lax standard of conduct, and 
that the Indian "Film Censorship Committees" vary in efficiency. 
Frankly we cannot accept such ea cathedra statements, which 
are unsupported by evidence tendered to us by the makers or 
discovered by us in a lengthy and careful enquiry. Not only 
can we not accept them, but it appears obvious to us that they 
were made without any attempt at serious enquiry and partly, 
at least, as a result of pre-existing obsession. We greatly regret 
that such an institution as the Social Hygiene Council should, 
from whatever motives, have lent its authority to support state- 
ments which one witness, not without some justice, described as 
preposterous. We have considered it necessary to make these 
(Comments, because the Council has in effect libelled, or supported 
a libel on, the Indian Boards of Film Censors, who have been 


carrying out their arduous and responsible duties conscientiously, 
wick equal efficiency and witk general success, and also on the 
trade as a whole. 

249. From what has been said, it seems possible that the 

advertising methods of the cinema trade 

had more thau a little to d with the 
formation of the Delegation's view. In 
fact their memorandum specifically refers to publicity material, 
handbills and posters. It is undoubtedly true that posters like 
any other catch-penny device are often much more lurid than 
the goods which they advertise, and at times refer to scenes 
which have been excised either by the censor or the exhibitor 
himself. We came across one such instance in Madras where 
an enlarged poster advertised " Kiss me again " in too suggestive - 
a manner, but the film itself was absolutely harmless. Occasion- 
ally these posters are distinctly suggestive, and as they are 
posted in public places, may and do at times offend the cultured 
and possibly do moral harm to the ignorant and the adolescent. 
We are satisfied that no small amount of the existing criticism 
of films in India results from such posters, and that sometimes 
the critic has never seen the films at all. At present the censor- 
ship is nut empowered to deal with advertising material, and 
the Police or Magistracy can only step in if actual obscenity is 
alleged. There is a considerable body of opinion, with which 
we agree, to the effect that posters need greater control. We 
COD si* lor preeeiisorship would be administratively very difficult 
and also most inconvenient to the trade. We, therefore, re- 
commend that the Magistracy or 1'oliee should be given power 
to direct any poster which appears to be objectionable to be 
forthwith removed, and that disobedience to such an order should 
be punishable by a Magistrate with a fine. The original order 
would in most cases have to be ex parte, but any party affected 
by it should be allowed to show cause against it before the 
authority passing* the order, and, if the authority be not a Magis- 
trate, to appeal to a Magistrate. We have no evidence that 
handbill advertisements constitute an abuse worthy of notice, and 
consider that newspaper advertisements can be left to the good 
sense of the press and to the existing law regarding obscenities. 

250. We have one or two final points to make about the censor- 

ship. The Boards as they now exist only 

W f *! to f f <? in ^O, Previous to this 
date there had been certain unofficial Cen- 
soring Committees. When the statutory censorship began, there 
was a large number of films in circulation which had been already 
exhibited over the length and breadth of the country. It was 
considered impracticable and unfair to insist that all these films 
should be called back for detailed examination. The Boards 
retained the power to examine them, and in some c^ses did examine 


them, but the majority were given certificates, as a matter of course, 
on payment of a nominal fee of Re. 1. Some of these films were 
very old, and possibly would not have passed the present censor- 
ship without modification. Similarly, it is only natural to assume 
that in the early days of the statutory censorship, lack of experi- 
ence and precedents permitted doubtful films and scenes to slip 
through. Now the point is that a considerable number of those 
films are still in circulation, and may occasion criticism of the 
censorship. We were very much struck by the antiquity of many 
films exhibited up-country, even in capital cities of provinces, espe- 
cially in the cheaper theatres. We witnessed one film at least 
which was produced before the Great War. In Madras a number 
of old films are even to-day being tendered for certificates on the 
nominal fee system mentioned above. Such films cannot compare 
in technique, plot or dramatic value with the generality of films 
produced of late years, and this will explain why most of the 
adverse criticism of the cinema comes from up-country. These old 
films, mainly of the " Wild-West " and serial variety, are fast 
falling into disfavour and yielding to the competition of the indi- 
genous production. 

251^ The trade and some members of the public have one general 

, . complaint to make against the censorship. 

Undue sensitiveness. T , L ,, , , i r i -u x j 

It is that too much tenderness is bestowed 

on communal, racial, political and even colour c.onsideraiions. 
We consider that this complaint is not altogether ill-founded. We 
have already pointed out that in India as elsewhere people go to 
the cinema to be amused, and not to learn political or any other 
lessons. We can hardly believe that a historical film which may 
picture incidents, say, of the French Revolution, will incite any 
ordinary member of an audience to attempt to overthrow the 
Government by law established in India. A propaganda film pre- 
pared by a hostile power might of course have such a tendency, but 
neither the commercial producer nor the exhibitor has the least 
desire to upset the existing order of society. Objectionable scenes 
there may be, and these must of necessity be excised, but we 
deprecate the idea that a film should be banned merely on the 
general ground that the subject-matter may by over-subtle analogy 
be interpreted as having a possible reference to current questions. 
Similarly we consider that the censor and the administrative 
officers should not encourage or be too sympathetic to individuals 
who in their private or representative capacities object to film plots 
or incidents. Breaches of the peace must of course be guarded 
against, but over-much tenderness to frivolous objections is more 
likely to encourage dissension. After all, the exhibitor, the pro- 
ducer and the importer are the very last persons to desire to offend 
the public, or any section of it. They want to please and increase 
their audiences, and not to alienate them, still less to cause a 
riot and to see their theatres wrecked and films burnt. If a 
parson does not like a film or type of film, his remedy is simple, 


He should withdraw his patronage, and the exhibitor will then 
do his best to win him back by providing more acceptable fare. 
This argument applies to a considerable extent even to films of 
a religious or social reform tinge. The censors are, of course, 
right in not permitting themes or scenes which, must deeply 
wound the susceptibilities of large sections of the public, but we 
hardly think that the Christian community should object to a film 
which shows that some Christians are hypocrites, that Hindus 
should object to a film discountenancing in a sober manner infant 
marriage or that Muslims should object to Nur Jehan being pic- 
tured without a veil. If such extreme tenderness were counte- 
nanced, the Indian producing industry would be impossibly 
handicapped. Let us give an actual example. It has been sug- 
gested that a well-known Indian film entitled "The Life of 
Buddha" should never have been certified, on the ground that it 
was offensive to Buddhists and had to be banned in Burma. It 
was originally certified in Calcutta, and was exhibited there in 
Bombay and in almost all other parts of India with great success 
and without objection. When it reached Burma it was banned, 
apparently on the ground that Burmese Buddhists objected to 
Buddha being represented on the screen by a human actor. Other 
reasons which we elicited from witnesses in Burma were that 
according to local tradition Buddha's features should be of a 
Burmese and not an Indian type and that he was represented as 
having too scanty a retinue of disciples. To us the banning 
seems hardly to have been necessary and with this some Burmese 
witnesses agreed. If the Buddhist objection was really deep-seated, 
it is certain that the film would have been a box-office failure and 
would have speedily disappeared from Burmese screens. But we 
do not profess to be able to appraise Burmese susceptibilities as 
well as the authorities of that province, and in no way seek to 
challenge their decision on this film. All we wish to point out 
is that India, which is not Buddhist, had every right to see the 
film, and that the Bengal Board had every right to certify it. 

252. We have carefully considered suggestions made from time 

to time that the standards of the different 

Moral standards of Boards vary anf j are satisfied that as a ffene- 

existmg Boards iden- , :\\ ., , _. . 5 

tical. ra l proposition they do not. Their canons 

are very similar if not identical, and their 

enforcement of them seldom differs. There must, of course, be 
differences of opinion; we have cited that of " The Triumph of the 
Rat," which Bombay certified after Calcutta had banned it. 
Similarly we find that Calcutta has certified a film "Alias the 
Deacon" which Bombay had banned and that Rangoon has certi- 
fied a film " Forbidden Love " which Calcutta had banned. Again, 
each Board, except Madras whose work is negligible, has seen 
films which it had certified, banned or abbreviated on the motion 
of other Boards. Both from these events and from our not in- 
considerable experience of the work of fhe Boards as evinced by 


the films passed by each and viewed by us, we can confidently 
assert that there is in fact nothing to choose between the Boards 
in relation to moral standards. But it must not be thought that 
the actual differences of opinion between the Boards are many 
or very serious. The Boards, as at present constituted, have 
examined upwards of 13,000 films. Of these, 14 have been 
declared uncertified in Bombay, 8 in Bengal, 16 in Burma and 
3 in Madras. This does not mean that 41 separate films have 
been banned, because some of the films have been declared to 
be uncertified in more than one province. The net figure seems 
to be 31, or less than -025 per cent of the total number of films 
examined. Further, some of the banned films were films origi- 
nally passed by the old unofficial Boards, others were re-certified 
after abbreviation or amendment, and others were banned purely 
because of local conditions or even on the representation of foreign 
Governments. It follows, therefore, that conflicts of opinion on 
moral questions are most exceptional. Nevertheless, it is desir- 
able for more than one reason that there should be no such un- 
adjusted conflicts at all. It is obviously contrary to public policy 
that there should be dissension between different Boards and 
provinces and it is not fair to the importer, producer or exhi- 
bitor of a film which has been duly certified by one Board for 
exhibition throughout the Indian Empire, that it should be 
banned in any province except on strong local grounds. The 
owner of the rights in an imported film which has been banned 
throughout India can, we understand, usually recover the royalty 
paid therefor. But if a film is allowed to be exhibited in one 
province and banned in another, he has no remedy. We will, 
therefore, now consider how this difficulty can be resolved, and 
whether any change in the machinery of 'the censorship is desir- 

253. We are agreed that the ideal solution would be a Central 

m , . , , . f Board of Censors for the whole of British 

The ideal A Central T v c i T> i 11- \ *. 

Board of Censors. I . lldla ' kuch a Board would g lve authorita- 

tive decisions for the whole country and 

would achieve uniformity. It would be in close touch with the 
Government of India, who at present are commonly held responsi- 
ble for the censorship though they have no direct contact with it, 
and through the Government of India would be the better able to 
get inte touch with the Indian States whenever necessary. Its 
verdicts would naturally command greater confidence in Indian 
States than the verdicts of Provincial Boards. This solution was 
mooted more than once before our enquiry began, but was rejected 
aa .impracticable, mainly on geographical grounds. It was urged, 
with Tuuch force, that importers and exhibitors would be seriously 
penalised by the expense and delay that would be incurred in 
sending films from all parts of India to the Central Board. This 
difficulty we admit, but for the reasons already stated we do not 
admit the second objection, namely, that such a Board would be 
incompetent to decide whether a film suitable for exhibition, say, 



in Bombay was also suitable for exhibition in Madras, Peshawar or 
Mandalay. The present Boards, which are essentially provincial, 
have in effect to make such decisions every time that they certify 
a fijm, and if they have been able to function without, as we have 
shown, incurring more than an infinitesimal amount of informed 
criticism, a stronger All-India Board should be able to function 
with even greater immunity from criticism. A Central Board 
would have the further advantage of stronger finances, and could 
therefore afford to employ more highly paid and better qualified 
stipendiaries than the existing Boards. We have been able to 
devise a scheme for a Central Board which we believe will avoid 
all genuine difficulties, and which we will now expound. 

04. Our contemplated Central Board, which should perhaps be 
designated the Indian Board of Film Censors, 
be located at Bombay, because more 

Central Board at films are imported at Bombay than at any 

Bombay. other port, because the producing industry 

in India is predominantly based on Bombay, 

because Bombay is a cosmopolitan city where every creed, caste 
and lace is represented, and because the Bombay Board already 
does more than half the censoring of the whole of the Indian 
Empire, The Board itself including the Chairman should consist 
of 7 or at the outside 9 members, a majority of whom should be 
non-official Indians. Four or five, as the case may be, will form a 
quorum. The members should be ladies or gentlemenfor sex 
should be no disqualification of standing and wide culture and the 
Chairman should be a non-official Indian. All should be appointed 
by the Government of India, who would no doubt consult the 
Provincial Government. The Commissioner of Police should be a 
member ex-officio, and it should be permissible for him to depute 
a responsible officer to represent him if unable on any occasion to 
attend personally. The Board should have its own office, which 
would include a projection room or rooms and operators. As its 
Chief Executive Officer and Secretary it would have a Chief Censor 
on a salary of about Us. 1,000501,500, who should be a man of 
ciilture, preferably an Indian, with University qualifications, and 
who should have travelled abroad as well as in India. If "for any 
special reason a non-Indian be appointed he should have had at 
least 7 years' experience of India. He will of course be a whole- 
time officer. All imported films tendered for. censorship will be' 
examined by the Chief Censor, who will forthwith issue a certifi- 
cate in the name of the Board if he sees nothing objectionable in 
it, or if any excision or change in it which he may propose is 
accepted by the owner or his accredited agent. But if he considers 
that the film should be banned, or that excisions or alterations 
unacceptable to the owner should be made before certification he 
will refer the matter to the Board for decision. The Board will 
if necessary view the film as a body or through a sub-committee 
of not less than two of its members. The Central Board will also 
deal with any Indian films that may be tendered to it. In the case 
of such films we think it advisable that members of the Board itself 


should if possible conduct the primary inspection. We therefore 
suggest that they should be seen by the Censor with two members, 
or by the Chairman and the Censor. The Censor should be entitled 
to advise but not to* vote. The final decision would lie with the 
full Board in contested cases. This procedure will enable the Board 
to keep in touch with Indian production and to report to the Bureau 
films- of special merit. There should be fixed hours for censoring, 
and these should be freely notified. . The probable programme for 
the ensuing day should also be posted in the office for public infor- 
mation. In order to associate the trade, the public and recognised 
institutions with the work of censorship, we propose that when any 
film is being viewed by the Censor or rnember.s of the Board, a 
representative of the trade, the Municipal Corporation, the Univer- 
sity, the Police, and recognised social service organisations should 
be allowed to attend in an honorary and advisory capacity. Each 
recognised body or organisation might nominate a panel of 
representatives, any one of whom should be entitled to attend at 
one time. Any of these honorary assessors should be entitled lo 
voice his opinion at the time of viewing a film, but reference to the 
full Board should only be permissible by way of a written represen- 
tation clearly stating the grounds of objection, and submitted 
within 24 hours of viewing. The pen-on or firm tendering any film 
for. censorship or his agent should of course be entitled to be present 
at its inspection. Such a person would be notified of the actual 
time fixed for the inspection, but separate notices for each film 
would not be sent to the % assessors or their nominators, and the&e 
would have to be content to study the programme of work posted 
daily at the Board's office and to attend such films as they might 
deem desirable. The Central Board will meet at least once a 
month, and oftener if work demands. The Chairman and members 
will be entitled to attend the censoring of any film, and should 
consider it part of their duty to visit periodically public exhibitions 
of films. The Chairman or any member will have power to require 
any film to be referred to the full Board. All members of the 
Board, including the Chairman, should receive sitting fees of Us. 20 
for three hours attendance or less when required to attend a Board 
meeting or to view a film, but should not receive fees for voluntary 
attendances. The Chairman should also receive a monthly honora- 
rium of Rs. 250. The Chairman and members should be appointed 
for three years, and the appointments should be renewable. The 
Censor should be appointed for five years, subject to probation for 
one year, and this appointment should also be renewable. 

255. It is obvious that a Board so constituted would not be 
able to do the censorship for the whole of 

Deputy Censor at f ndia an ? Burma without causing delay and 
Calcutta Provincial inconvenience to distant importers and pro- 

^ C oS?Z ^ ^ eci ^ in C ^ tta * R -Son, 
Rangoon, and special and to the P*o<hicers of topical films in any 
arrangements for to- part of India or Burma. We therefore pro- 
picala - pose that there should be a Deputy Censor, 

subordinate to the Central Board, stationed 


at Calcutta for the censorship of imported films, that there should 
be Provincial Boards, where necessary, for the censoring of locally 
produced feature films, and that where no Central or Provincial 
Board exists, power should be given to the Presidency or District 
Magistrate to certify topical films. We do not consider that 
Provincial Boards are necessary at present at any places other than 
Calcutta and Itangoou. The recently established Punjab Board 
has, so far as we are aware, done very little censoring as yet, and 
as all imported films will be examined by the Chief or Deputy 
Censor, subject to the control of the Central Board, as all topicals 
will be certifiable by the magistracy, and as separate provision will 
be proposed for the certifying of public utility films, there will be 
no work for the Punjab Board unless and until feature films are 
produced in Northern India. The Punjab Board should therefore 
disappear for the time being. Similarly the original censoring 
done by the Madras Board is so exiguous that this Board also 
should be discontinued. We have it in evidence that even at 
present films are sent elsewhere for censorship, owing to the delay 
that is alleged to occur in Madras. In Bengal and Burma, how- 
ever, especially in the latter, there are existing producing indus- 
tries, and the present Boards should therefore be reconstituted into 
Provincial Boards which should be entitled io certify for all India 
any topical or feature film produced in India or Burma and 
tendered to them. The Burma Board, as an exception to the 
general rule that all imported films should be censored by the Chief 
or Deputy Censor, should also be entitled to censor the Chinese 
films which reach .Rangoon, in some numbers and are exhibited 
almost exclusively to the local Chinese population, and also all 
imported topicals and educational films. The number of imported 
feature films other than Chinese films at llangoon has fallen off 
heavily and totals less than three a month.* It will be no real 
hardship if such films have to be certified at Calcutta. The 
Bengal and Burma Boards should consist of five or seven members, 
including the Chairman, of whom not less than three or four, as 
the case may be, inclusive of the Chairman, should be non-official 
Indians or Burmans. The Commissioner of Police should be an 
ex-officio member, and should be entitled to depute a responsible 
representative if unable on any occasion to attend personally. The 
Chairman should have an office and a whole-time clerical assistant. 
Not less than two members should censor each film, with the 
exception that the Chairman sitting alone should be authorized 
to certify news gazettes. The full Board should be convened by 
the Chairman once a month or oftener. All members should receive 
sitting fees of Es. 20 for three hours' attendance or less, and the 
Chairman should receive in addition a monthly honorarium of 
Us. 150. If and when, owing to the initiation of local produc- 
tion of feature films on a reasonable scale, the Government of anv 

' / 

* The figures for the last four years are as follows : 

1924-25 .. 96 I 1926-2? .. 32 

1925-26 .. 143 1927-28 .. 31 


Province other than Bombay, Bengal or Burma, consider that 
a new Provincial Board is necessary in the interests of local 
producers, such Government should move the Government of India 
to create a new Provincial Board, and if after consulting the 
Central Bureau and Board the Government of India consider that 
a good and sufficient case has been made out, a new Provincial 
Board should be constituted on the lines of the Burma Board. 
All nominations to Provincial Boards including Bengal and 
Burma should be made by the Provincial Government. Provision 
for the nomination and attendance of assessors as in the case of the 

Central Board should also be made. 

256. We recommend that the Deputy Censor at Calcutta, 

who will, through the Chief Censor, be 
f DepUty subordinate to the Central Board, should 
censor all imported films tendered to him. He, 
like his Bombay colleague, will be a full-time officer, and should 
have his own projection room and a clerical assistant and be assisted 
by honorary assessors as at Bombay. Any member of the Bengal 
Provincial Board will also be entitled to attend, in an honorary 
capacity, the inspection of films, anTl by written notice given within 
24 hours of the inspection require a reference to the Central Board. 
The Deputy Censor will issue certificates in the name of the 
Central Board for all films which he considers unobjectionable 
or which can in his opinion be made unobjectionable by excisions 
or alterations to which the owner or his representative agrees. If 
he considers that any film should be banned or should not be 
certified without excisions or alterations to which the owner does 
not agree, he will forward it to the Chief Censor for submission 
to the Central Board. The expense of forwarding, returning and 
insuring it will fall on the censorship if the Central Board does 
not uphold the objection. The Deputy Censor's qualifications 
should be those laid down for the Chief Censor, and he should be 
appointed for the same period and subject to the same probation. 
His pay should be Its. 750501,000. 

257. In order to secure the completest liaison between the 

Central Board and its Chief Censor on the 

t0 one hand > and the De P llt y Censor on the 
other, and to enable the trade and the 

general public of Eastern India to have opportunities of 
personal contact with the Central Board, we consider that the 
Chief Censor should, at least for some time, visit Calcutta once 
a month, see the Deputy Censor at work, and interview members 
of the trade and public. The Chairman of the Central Board 
should also visit Calcutta twice a year, and if finances permit', the 
Central Board should actually hold one meeting each year in 


258. All certificates, by whomsoever issued, will be valid 

throughout British India, but if not issued 
Validity of certifi- ^ y t j ie chief Censor or Central Board, the 
cates ' issuing authority must notify the Central 

Board so that complete records can be kept. Kefusals to certify 
must similarly be communicated. The Central Board will lay 
down general canons of censorship for the guidance of its Chief 
or Deputy Censor and for the information of Provincial Boards. 

259. A certain number of public utility films are being made, 

and many more, we hope, will be made with 
Public utility films. , the ^-^ of opening t]le eyes O f the magses 

to the advantages of better sanitation, education, co-operation, 
agriculture and the like. Such films are usually made by or on 
behalf of Government departments or quasi-public institutions. 
Provincial Governments already have the power under sec- 
tion 9 of the Act to exempt such films from certification in their 
own provinces. Indeed they hardly need to be certified at all. It 
is however, important that such films should be on the Central 
Board's registers, and we theiefore recommend that Provincial 
Governments when exempting nucli, or in fact any films, should 
send full particulars to the Central Board and that the Central 
Board should then issue a formal certificate, free of charge and if 
they think fit without examination, entitling the film to be shown 
in all provinces, and not merely the province of origin. 

260. We have carefully considered the question of appeals. 
Appeals Obviously the right to appeal to Provincial 

Governments must in our scheme be with- 
drawn. There have been remarkably few such appeals hitherto, 
and in view of our proposals whereby the trade and the public 
will in some measure be associated with the censorship, we anti- 
cipate that there will be still fewer appeals in the future. We 
are indeed somewhat doubtful whether it is really .necessary to 
allow appeals beyond the Central Board. In the case of a dis- 
agreement with the Chief or Deputy Censor, the matter will in 
any case go before the Central Board for decision. On the other 
hand, if uniformity is to be obtained both the Central Board and 
the Provincial Boards must have, so to speak, some common 
referee. On the whole, then, we consider that a.ny person feel- 
ing himself aggrieved by a decision of any Board or other certi- 
fying authority or Provincial Government should be entitled to 
apply to the Government of India, to revise that decision, and 
that the Government should always, when adjudicating the 
matter, have before it the report of the Central Bureau. In fact 
it might suitably be laid down that all such applications should 
be submitted to Government through the Bureau. This proce- 
dure would assist the Bureau to become that real centre of film 
information and co-ordination which we hope to see it become. 


261. It will of course be essential to safeguard the rights of 

Provincial Governments so as to enable 
Provincial Govern- them to exercise their duty of preserving 

SiTrded, ng law a d order in their provinces. In other 

words, they must still retain the power to 

declare uncertified in their province any film, the exhibition of 
which may endanger law and order, or for special local or tempo- 
rary reasons be likely to cause bad blood. This power should 
however be subject to the re visional powers of the Government 
of India mentioned in the previous paragraph. As at present, 
the Provincial Government could act on its own initiative, or on. 
the motion of a District Magistrate or Commissioner of Police 
who should retain their power of suspension. But we strongly 
recommend two limitations. In the first place no film should be 
banned before it has been viewed. The authority concerned 
should have the right to demand a private view of any suspected 
film before its public exhibition, but the automatic imposition of 
a ban merely because some other authority may have imposed 
a ban, possibly for purely flocal reasons, is neither reasonable nor 
equitable. In the second place no film should be suspended, and 
still less declared uncertified, on merely moral grounds. We 
have already shown that the moral standards of the existing 
Boards in effect do not differ, and that there have been remark- 
ably few differences of opinion between the provinces on purely 
moral points. The new, and for that matter, the existing cen- 
sorship, will be a safer guide on morality than the extreme puri- 
tan or free-thinker, and 1he censorship's authority ought to 
prevail against an individual's whim or judgment until and 
unless there has been an impartial and informed adjudication. 
Such an adjudication should, we consider, be obtained in the 
same way as revision proceedings against the banning of a film. 
In other words, the Provincial Government concerned, either on 
its own motion or on the motion of a Magistrate or responsible 
Police Officer, should, if it considers that a certified film offends 
against pood morals, move the Government of India through the 
Central Bureau to adjudicate the matter. "We believe that such 
references will be rare, but consider that Provincial Govern- 
ments should possess the right to appeal, so to speak, against an 
acquittal, just as the trade is giver, the right to apply for revi- 
sion of an adverse decision. Difference of opinion between Pro- 
vincial Governments will of course be adjudicated in the same 

262. A few minor points remain to be mentioned. It has 

already been indicated that the Central 

Board wil1 la y down S eneral PcipleB, 
and keep complete records of all films cer- 
tified either by itself or any other authority. It will accordingly 
iiave to prescribe forms of applications for certificate, the 
registers to be maintained, and the returns to be made, and 
make rules for the supply of extracts on payments of fees. It 


will of course be necessary for the applicant for a certificate to 
state the country in which the film was made and, wherever pos- 
sible, the result of any previous censorship elsewhere. Th? 
Board will also have to notify all films which have been refused 
certificates, and arrange for such notifications to be published in 
the Gazette of India and all Provincial Gazettes. Films certi- 
fied after excisions or alterations might also suitably be so 
notified. The Board should also consider whether it could safely 
delegate any of its powers to other authorities. For example, it 
could, we think, safely allow Provincial Boards and District 
Magistrates to sanction omissions from certified films and also 
the insertion of translations of sub-titles or captions. Particulars 
of any such insertion or omission would have to be endorsed on 
the reverse of the certificate accompanying the film, and at once 
reported to the Central Board. In passing, we suggest that as 
the insertion of vernacular captions should be encouraged, the 
certifying authority should only charge a fee based on the length 
of new film to be inserted. At present the practice of the Boards 
seems to vary. Lastly, the Board should keep in touch with the 
public by inviting the lodging of information and by instruct- 
ing the Chief and Deputy Censors to notify the hours each day 
when they will be open to receive and hear representations. 
The Board should also keep in close touch with the Central 
Bureau, which should be entitled to call for reports and informa- 
tion from the Board and from its Chief Executive Officer, the 

263. "We venture io believe that the scheme given above will 
meet all reasonable objections against a 
centralised censorship, and also meet criti- 
cisms of the existing censorship. It pro- 
vides for censorship either by well qualified and well paid 
stipendiaries or by actual members of the Boards, it will achieve 
uniformity of standard while preserving elasticity and safeguard- 
ing provincial and local rights, it will obviate delays except in 
contentious cases where some delay is inevitable, and it will 
confer on the trade one great advantage, namely, that its certifi- 
cates will be more truly valid for all India and very much less 
likely to be challenged or suspended by local authorities than 
at present. It will also associate with the work of censorship 
accredited public bodies and the trade, and so ensure that in 'most 
cases no film is examined by one man alone. It provides for 
reasonable continuity of policy and personnel, which we consider 
most important. It is largely for this reason that we have not 
recommended censorship in all cases by members of the Central 
Board. Such censorship would necessitate the abandonment of 
the accepted principle of non-official co-operation and largely non- 
official Boards, and the institution of an expensive Board or Boards 
composed entirely of stipendiary Censors. We are convinced that 
Boards must be small if uniformity and continuity of policy are to 


be obtained ; but if the Central Board is to be small and largely non- 
official, then as already shown the demands on the members' time, 
if they had personally to view all films, would be impossibly great. 
Some witnesses suggested that the Board or Boards should be 
greatly expanded, so that two or more members could view every 
film without an undue demand on their time, But we are firmly 
opposed to any such plan. Uniformity would be bound to suffer, 
delays in examination would be very probable, and there would be 
the danger that the Board would become a debating society rather 
than a compact businesslike committee. 

264. Our proposed reorganisation of the machinery of censor- 
ship will undoubtedly involve additional 
of the expense. It will however, benefit the trade 
both by giving them more authoritative certi- 
ficates which will not easily be challengeable, and by associating 
them in some measure with the censorship. For these benefits we 
consider the trade can and should pay. We therefore recommend 
that the present low censorship fee should be raised to Rs. 10 per 
thousand feet, and that if on closing the accounts of any year 
there is a surplus, that surplus should be transferred to the Bureau 
to be used for the good of the trade. The censorship fee is only 
n small item of expense to the producer or importer of any except 
the cheapest and worst films, and an increase of Rs. 5 per 1,000 
feet will not harm the industry. The fee of Rs. 10 will still be 
less than the English fee of <! while the Australian fee is 
apparently 10*. plus a further 1 per reel when reconstruction is 
attempted and the film has to be reviewed. The fees would of 
course be payable at the place of censorship, and each censoring 
authority should remit the surplus to the Central Board or receive 
a grant from the Central Board to cover a proved deficit. Proper 
budgets and accounts will be essential. The footage actually 
examined by the existing Boards in the first 11 months of 
1927-28 was 6,293,769 or say 6,866,000 for the full year. The foot- 
age has increased yearly during the past four years, and seems 
certain to continue to increase. As the fee is fixed per 1,000 feet 
or part thereof, and as fees are or will be chargeable for provisional 
certificates, duplicate certificates and extracts, the gross income 
will be somewhat higher than will appear at 'first sight. Conse- 
quently a Rs. 10 fee should at present, or very shortly, yield not 
less than Rs. 75,000 for the whole of India and Burma, and that 
sum should, we reckon, be sufficient to defray the recurring 
expenses of the censorship machinery proposed. A rough estimate is 
given below. The cost of fitting up projection rooms might be 
suitably defrayed by a non-recurring grant from Government. 

Rough estimate. us. 

Pay of Censor ; 1,000 

Pay of Deputy Censor ... T ... 750 

Honorarium, Chairman, Central Board ... ... 250 

Honorarium, Chairman, Bengal Board 150 

Honorarium, Chairman, Rangoon Board ... ... 150 

Carried over ... 2,300 


Rough estimate cont. 

Brought forward ... 2,300 

Clerks of all Boards .., 360 

Operators ... 200 

Contingencies 250 

Rents 750 

Members' fees 2,000 

Travelling allowances 400 

Total per mensem ... 6,250 
Total per annum ... 75,000 

265. Before closing this chapter, we should add that we have 
carefully considered whether the censorship 

Children and the can do any thi n g to protect children from 
cinema. . '., ,, & , r n-i'ii 

seeing unsuitable films. Children are pro- 
bably less likely to suffer from seeing films of doubtful morality 
than from witnessing scenes of violence and sensation which are 
absolutely harmless to the adolescent or adult. For example, we 
have heard of a child being seriously upset by a scene in a "Jacky 
Coogan" film in which this popular child actor had for dramatic 
reasons to be shown as a persecuted and ill-treated little boy. We 
all recognise that it is mainly for the parents or natural guardians 
of children to protect them and keep them away from harmful 
entertainments, and we are definitely opposed to films being certi- 
fied as for adults only. Such certification woulcl only serve as an 
advertisement to attract the prurient, and it would be a matter of 
the greatest difficulty, both for exhibitors and the Police, to ensure 
that non-adults, however defined, did not gain admittance. Certi- 
fication of films as for "Children only" would be even more 
disastrous; adults would certainly avoid them, and exhibitors 
would therefore not accept them. At the same time we realise 
that at present parents have little opportunity of knowing 
whether a particular film is suitable for children or not. We 
therefore recommend that the English practice of issuing two 
classes of certificates should be tried. One certificate will pass a 
film for " Universal" exhibition, the other for "Public" exhi- 
bition. The former will indicate that in the judgment of the 
censors the film contains nothing which can hurt a child, the 
latter that the film, though suitable for an ordinary audience, 
might unduly excite or distress children. It should be made 
obligatory on the exhibitor to indicate on his posters and on all 
advertisements when the film advertised has received a "Univer- 
sal" certificate, and it will then be possible for parents and 
guardians to select films to which to take their children. Some 
of us, while not opposed to thrs experiment, are somewhat doubt- 
ful of its efficacy. We are, however, all agreed, that as soon as 
the Bureau is constituted, it should examine th methods adopted 
in other countries to protect children, and the League of Nations' 
investigations into this matter, and consider whether any better 
arrangements are possible. 



2&6. Allegations have occasionally been made that films which 
have been certified by the censors are sorne- 

** m S e S ng times tampered with. Those portions which 

certified films. i i. i i_ ji r i 

nave been excised by the censor may be 

reinserted, or lengths of films never submitted to the censor may 
te inserted or substituted for innocuous portions of the films. 
Similarly, a film to which at its primary examination objection 
has been taken may be altered before its re-examination either 
by members of the Board or in appeal. An instance of this came 
to our notice during our enquiry. Two members of the Rangoon 
Board had objected to certain parts of a Chinese film, and had 
referred the matter to the full Board, Before the full Board 
viewed it, we viewed it, and could not understand why any 
objection had been raised. iWhen, however, the full Board 
viewed it, it was discovered that the proprietor of the film had, 
without permission or notice, excised the objectionable parts. 
It is obviously necessary to lay down, presumably by rule, that 
once a film has been tendered for censorship, no alteration should 
be made in it pending the final decision, except with the consent 
of the censor. Another case which came to our personal notice 
was more serious. .We witnessed at Nagpur a film called " The 
Answer of the Sea" which had recently been certified by the 
Bombay Board. It contained scenes of female nudity bordering 
on the obscene, and a reference to the Board disclosed that the 
objectionable scenes had been added to the film after it had been 
certified. The Board at once cancelled the certificate, and is, 
we understand, considering further action. Very few such cases, 
however, have been detected, and we do not consider that the 
offence is common. Nonetheless, it is important that it should 
be guarded against and that, if committed, it should be adequately 
punished. The measures to -be taken are partly a function of 
the censoring authority, and partly of the general administration 
of the country. 

267. The statutory rules under which the existing Boards of 
Censors work usually provide, and we 

Preventive censor- consider always 8hould prov ide, that every 

ship methods. v ,. / v . i i i , , * 

1 application for censorship should state, 

inter alia, the exact length of the film and the number of reels, 
that when a certificate issues the exact length of the film as 
certified should be entered on the face of the certificate, and that 
if any excisions have been made, a description of the parts 
excised and their exact length should be endorsed on the reverse 
of the certificate. The stipulations regarding length are obviously 
necessary, but equally obviously do not constitute by themselves 
an adequate safeguard against abuse, because, as already indicated, 

substitution without altering the total length is quite possible. 
The Bombay rules accordingly go further, and provide that all 
excised parts, both of the film examined and of all copies of it 
in the applicant's possession and intended for exhibition in British 
India, shall be handed over to the Board and destroyed after one 
year. This is an additional safeguard in the case of imported 
films, but will not necessarily be effective in the case of Indian 
films unless the corresponding portions of the negative be removed 
and handed over to the Board. If the negative remained uncut, 
fresh positives of objectionable parts could easily be made and 
inserted in the positive film. We. recommend therefore that the 
Bombay Rule (No. ]5) should be amended in this sense, und 
should be made generally applicable. This same rule prescribes, 
as a further safeguard, that whenever any film has been certified 
after any excision has been made, the certificate shall be marked 
with a clearly visible triangle in its left hand bottom corner. 
The Madras and Burma Boards follow the same practice, but 
Bengal uses a cross instead of a triangle. We approve the 
practice, but consider the mark should be uniform. The intention 
is that the distinctive mark, when seen either on the certificate 
itself or on the "trailer" certificate prefixed to the film, will warn 
every authority whose duty it is to prevent the exhibition of 
uncertified films, that the film was not passed exactly as tendered 
for censorship, and therefore needs special scrutiny. Such scrutiny 
will be facilitated if reference be made to the original certificate 
or a certified copy thereof. On the reverse of this will be found 
a description of the excisions made before certification, and the 
scrutinizing authority will then be able to satisfy himself that 
the excisions have not been inserted. The trailer certificate 
prefixed to the film itself is not sufficient for this purpose, as it 
does not, and cannot, reproduce the endorsements on the reverse 
of the original certificate. We therefore consider that every copy 
of a film should be accompanied, wherever it goes for exhibition, 
by the original certificate or by a certified copy of the certificate, 
which is already obtainable for the modest fee of Re. 1. 

268. Problems of the administrative control of exhibitions of 

films are discussed later in this chapter, 

Penal section inade- but this win be ^ a pp ropr i a te place to 

' iua e ' consider whether the law as it stands 

imposes adequate penalties on the exhibition of films which have 
been tampered with. Section 6 of the Act is the only penal 
section, and directly penalises no one other than the owner or 
person in charge of a cinematograph, or the owner or occupier 
of any place, or in short the exhibitor. But if a film has been 
tampered with after censorship, it by no means follows that the 
exhibitor is the offender. In fact, as the exhibitor is normally 
only the hirer of the film, he is very unlikely to venture to make 
any alteration in it. The real offender is much more likely to 
be the owner of the film. Now if the owner tampers with a film, 
he can only be penalised for abetting an offence, normally 
committed innocently and in ignorance, by an exhibitor, inasmuch 
as the exhibitor will be exhibiting a film which, by reason of 


alteration after censorship, has forfeited its right to be accounted 
certified. This appears to be a very clumsy and probably 
ineffective method of bringing the real offender to book. ,We 
consider that the Act should be amended so as to make tampering 
with a film after censorship a substantive offence, punishable, 
on conviction by a Presidency or First Class Magistrate, with a 
fine which may extend to Es. 1,000 and the confiscation of the 
film. Moreover, to remind the owners of films of their resporfsi* 
bility, and so prevent them evading it, as they did in a case 
which came to our personal notice, by pleading that an employee 
had committed the offence without their cognizance, we recom- 
mend that the amendment should make it clear that the person 
firm or company at whose instance the film was certified should 
be deemed liable for the tampering unless he or they can prove 
that it was done without his or their cognizance. A reference, 
for example, to the Indian Companies' Act will show that such 
vicarious punishment is no legal novelty. 

269. Now it is obvious that though it is the function of the 
censorship to certify films for exhibition, it 

Civil administra- i s neither logical nor feasible that it should 
control. Ctl 11S f atte '"Pt directly to administer the Act in 
respect of public exhibitions. It is the busi- 
ness of the ordinary Civil Administration to do so, and to bring 
offenders to book, though 'there must, of course, be close liaison 
between the administration and the censorship. We consider that 
in each district the District Magistrate or some other prescribed 
authority, working with the co-operation of the subordinate 
magistracy and police, should take an informed interest in the 
cinematographs within his jurisdiction. It should be made obliga- 
tory 011 every exhibitor to furnish weekly programmes in advance 
to the prescribed authorities, and the certificate covering every 
film should be ready for inspection not later than on the occasion 
of the film's first exhibition in the district. Certificates bearing 
the triangle and films covered thereby should be carefully 
examined by a Magistrate or a Police officer, and any suspected 
offence investigated and reported to the censorship authority 
concerned. Similarly, if the Magistrate considers that for genuine 
local reasons a film should not be exhibited in his district, he 
should exercise his statutory powers under section 7 (5) of the 
Act. We have already emphasised, and would here repeat, that 
this power should not be lightly exercised. We do not see why 
such local control should be difficult or should occasion expense. 
We imagine that at least one policeman is normally present at 
every public entertainment, if only to preserve order, and that it 
will not be a serious tax on the* police if the attendance of one 
officer at the first local exhibition of every film be made com- 
pulsory. In fact in some provinces police officers are even now 
deputed for this purpose. THe duty of the Civil Administration 
in this respect seems to us so obvious that we need not enlarge on 
it further. 


270. lu Bombay and some other cities we observed that the 

censorship had posted notices in cinema 
^Co-operation of the house8 8tat i ng t o whom complaints about 

films should be made. This praiseworthy 

attempt to interest the general public in the Censor's work might 
well be copied elsewhere, and we recommend that the posting of 
such a notice in every house might be made a condition of its 
license. This may also encourage the formation of " Better film " 
societies and like institutions. 

271. A few suggestions have been made that definitely obscene 

films are sometimes smuggled into and 
Obscene films. might fce produced in In(]ia . It was 

specially mentioned that this was common in Indian States. We 
are satisfied that the censorship has entirely prevented and will 
prevent the public exhibition of such films, and it is not the 
function of the censorship to deal with private exhibitions. We 
have no definite evidence that such films have been imported or 
produced, and from enquiries we caused to be made through the 
Political Department we found the allegations regarding Indian 
States to be not borne out by any credible evidence,, and in any 
case we consider that the ordinary administrative departments, such 
as the Customs and the Police, must be left to deal with the abuse 
if it exists. 

272. Questions regarding films will at times come before 

Provincial Governments, and a Govern- 
Boardl Advisol *y ment in whose province no Board of Censors 

exists will probably feel the need of an 

Advisory Board. We think, therefore, that the Provincial 
Governments other than 'those of Bombay, Bengal and Burma, 
would be well advised to constitute small but representative bodies 
to advise them about all film matters. In particular, the Advisory 
Board might suitably be consulted about propaganda and public 
utility films which any department of the Government might con- 
template producing, and about any film of which the certificate 
had been suspended before that certificate is finally revoked. The 
members of the committee should also make it a point to visit the 
cinemas in their area so that they may keep themselves in touch 
with the actual conditions. In places where Boards of Censors 
exist the Provincial Governments will no doubt consult them in 
similar circumstances. 

273. We have carefully considered the views of Army Head- 

quarters on the matters referred to us, and 
Military needs. are glfld to fee aUe to report ttat w ^ have 

already proposed their chief desideratum, namely, a Central 
Bureau which the Army authorities can at any time consult. Both 
in the written statement and in the oral evidence of Colonel Lakin, 
Deputy Director of Personal Services, it was emphasised that, 


though the Army was keenly interested in many aspects of the 
cinema, it at present has little accurate information and has no 
way of procuring it. It is anxious to co-operate with the trade, 
and the Bureau will provide the best possible avenue of com- 
munication. Similarly, the Bureau will be able to advise the Army 
on the procuring, whether by hire, actual production or other- 
wise, of the type of instructional or entertainment films which it 
desires. We do not think that the censorship can take special 
thought of Army needs when certifying films, and if the Army 
wants to obtain films of a particular type for exhibition it must 
make its own arrangements. The State Railways have been able 
to hire some of the most successful films ever exhibited, such as 
"The Thief of Baghdad " and " Safety East", and an organised 
regimental circuit should be in at least as good a position to obtain 
good films. Whether such a circuit is practicable we leave to the 
Army to consider in consultation with the Bureau. 

274. We have it in evidence that the British soldier frequently 

on,* T,r IT. Visits the cinema, but the Indian soldier very 

Ine Indian soldier. , , . T, /> , ,* , ,* ~r J 

seldom, it ever. It is a fact that the Indian 

soldier's abstention is mainly due to economic causes, but it is 
also true that he has not facilities for seeing the cinema within 
his lines equal to those enjoyed by British soldiers. He usually 
has to go some distance if he wishes to see Indian films in <i 
cinema. We consider that the private exhibitor should be encour- 
aged by the Military authorities to exhibit Indi'an films to the 
Indian troops. Facilities should be granted by the authorities 
for the exhibition to them of Indian films, e.g., by allowing the 
use of Government or regimental halls. We have little doubt 
that if the Army uses, as it desires to use, films for educational 
and training purposes, the Indian soldier will speedily gain the 
1 ' cinema sense. ' ' 

275. It has been suggested to us that in some cantonments the 

right to open a cinema has been given as 
poSs. t<>nment m n " a monopoly for a certain number ^ of years. 

We recognise that it may be desirable for 

the Military authorities to observe a stricter licensing system 
for disciplinary reasons, but we consider that no cantonment 
authority should seek to make a financial profit out of such a res- 
triction. If any profit is derived, it could equitably be devoted 
to providing greater facilities for the recreation of all units, 
Indian as well as European. And where there is a considerable 
civil population resident in a cantonment, the authorities should 
not ordinarily refuse permission for new houses to be opened 
primarily for their patronage. 

276. Indian producers on more than one occasion represented 

to us the difficulty which they experience 

Historical and i n obtaining reasonably correct historical 

maton data about dress, architecture, social cus- 

toms and the like, without which all their 


films except those dealing with the present day are likely to con- 
tain anachronisms. We put this difficulty to Sir John Marshall, 
Pirector-General of Archaeology in India, who was good enough 
both to give oral evidence before us and later to send us a scheme 
for the preparation of a series of monographs. We reproduce this 
scheme as Appendix I. Briefly, it contemplates the compilation 
of six monographs covering different periods by selected independent 
writers, who would receive every assistance from the officers of 
the Archaeological department. Sir John considers that a sum 
of Rs. 8,000 would suffice for the compilation of each monograph. 
We think that such publications would be undoubtedly useful to 
the trade, and that the Central Bureau should, as soon as finances 
admit, budget for. the production, one by one, of the suggested 

277. A few words must be devoted to relations with the 

Indian States. The British Indian Act does 

T ^ e a ?? ition f not automatically extend to their terri- 
Tndian States. , . , . .. J . , , , . , 1-11 

tones, but it would Joe obviously desirable 

i'or them to enforce similar legislation, in which case a measure 
of reciprocity between each State and British India could pro- 
bably be negotiated. If, as the majority recommend, a quota 
for Indian films be instituted, producers in Indian States will 
naturally and justly demand to share in the benefits of the scheme. 
This, however, could hardly be allowed unless they came under 
an enactment similar to that under which their competitors in 
British India were working. We therefore recommend the 
Government of India to point out to the Indian States the advan- 
tages of collaboration both in respect of legislation and adminis- 
tration, and to get them to contribute towards the success of the 
Central Bureau organisation. 

278. The Government of Bombay have pointed out two defects 

in the drafting of the Ant as it stands at 

Drafting defects in p resen t. The first is that the Act, if lite- 
the present Act. r ,, . 1 . , ' . 

rally interpreted, requires the certification 

of all films whether for private or public exhibition, and the 
licensing of all places at which exhibitions are held, even a draw- 
ing room where a "Baby Cinema' ' is used with non-inflammable 
films. They add that they have not enforced the law in the case 
of private exhibitions, but the penalties for failure to secure a 
premises license and certificate for the films used are still in 
reserve in case any private exhibition of obscene or seditious 
films conies to notice. The second defect in the Act is its unduly 
wide definition of a cinematograph " any apparatus for the 
representation of moving pictures or series of pictures " a 
definition which would include any ordinary peep-sEow using 
reeled films. We agree with both criticisms and consider that 
the Act needs amendment to meet them. If, however, private 
exhibitions are to be exempt from control, the conditions will 
need to be very carefully defined; otherwise, exhibitions which 
are in effect 'public may masquerade under the guise of private 


and necessary control be avoided. For example, we understand 
that there is a growing import trade in films of non-standard size 
suitable for exhibition on miniature projectors. Such films can 
be and are hired; in fact, circulating film libraries are coming 
into being. We have heard no evidence on this point, and cannot 
make a definite recommendation, but the Central Board of Cen- 
sors and the Bureau might, we think, investigate the question 
at an early date, and in particular consider whether non-standard 
films which are let out on hire should not require the Censor's 

279. Several witnesses advocated the abolition of bars from 

. cinema houses and some of the exhibitors 

ar m e were not averse to that recommendation. 

. t t 

It is only in the houses very largely patron- 
ised by the educated classes that a bar i provided and we have 
not heard of any complaints of any abuse of the bar where it is 
provided. It is a matter more for local authorities to deal with 
than for general legislation. We feel confident that the licen- 
sing authorities will prevent abuses and not permit the sale of 
cheap alcoholic drinks such as country spirit and toddy. 

280. We found that in some places, especially in Burma, 

smoking is permitted inside cinema halls. 

These halls are often by no means well 

ventilated, and if the light on the screen is not very good, the 
clearness of the picture suffers. Apart from this, the atmosphere 
may become offensive, particularly to non-smokers. We think 
that exhibitors would be well advised to consider carefully whe- 
ther permission to smoke attracts more persons than it keeps 







281. This Chapter is mainly concerned with the events leading 
up to the appointment of the Committee, and with the procedure of 
the Committee, but certain general conclusions are expressed 

(1) As far as India is concerned, public opinion is not suffi- 
ciently organised or articulate to make it possible to dispense with 
censorship. (H 3.) 

(2) It is not considered that it is either practicable or justi- 
fiable to make one man or one body of men the arbiter of artistic 
taste for a whole population. (H 3.) 

(3) In India the cinema problem is one of peculiar com- 
plexity owing mainly to the fact that the majority of the films 
exhibited are produced in the West and portray an entirely alien 
civilisation. (^] 5.) 

(4) The general effect' of the Western films in India is not 
evil, but, on the whole, is good. (^ 5.) 

(5) The Western films, in spite of their defects, have an 
educational value for ihe people of India. They tend to open the 
eyes of the uneducated to other and more advanced conditions of 
life and to give them some idea, however imperfect, of conditions 
in other countries ; they tend to broaden their minds and widen 
their outlook. (1[ 5.) 

(6) If the exhibition of Western films is doing any mischief 
in this country the best remedy would seem to be to encourage 
Indian films to take their place. Moreover the encouragement of 
a national industry of this description is clearly advisable per se 
for reasons which are too obvious to require elaboration. (^ 15.) 

(7) The Chairman in his opening speech at the first meeting 
of the Committee stressed the point that the interests of India 
would be considered first, and the Committee have unanimously 
adhered to that view throughout. (1f 26.) 

(8) The industry is as yet entirely in Indian hands; non- 
Indian interests, though certainly watchful, have not yet estab- 
lished any control over it. It is well that the danger should be 
recognised and guarded against before it is too late. (U 27.) 

Survey of the Trade and Industry. 

This Chapter is devoted to a survey of exhibition, distribution, 
and production in this country, and concludes with a summary 
of the main defects and difficulties, 



(9) While exhibition in the larger towns and in those smaller 
town where there is a considerable population of students or of 
the industrial labouring classes may be said, generally speaking, 
to be a paying concern many of the mofussil exhibitors are having 
a hard fight for existence. (H 94.) 

(10) This is partly due to economic causes, partly to the fact 
that the cinema habit is undeveloped, and sometimes to inex- 
perience. (U 94.) 

(11) Very often the mofussil exhibitor is handicapped by the 
heavy rent which he has to pay for his hall. 

(12) With two exceptions there is a notable absence of cir- 
cuits and exhibitors do not combine to form circuits. (H 94.) 

(13) Exhibitors are insufficiently organised. (11 94.) 

(14) The Entertainment Tax (where it exists) is a handicap 
to the exhibitor when it is imposed on the cheaper seats. (H 94.) 

Travelling Cinemas. 

(15) The Travelling Cinemas are generally poor and strug- 
gling concerns. (H 95.) 

(16) It is likely that the Travelling Cinema system will deve- 
lop. (H95.) 

(17) They are definitely handicapped by the amount which 
they have to pay in licence fees. (H 95.) 


(18) Distribution is insufficiently organised. This fact is of 
importance in connection with the financial aspect of production. 
(11 96.) 

(19) " Block " and " Blind " booking prevail to some ex- 
tent. But neither from the point of view of the Trade nor of the 
public interest do we consider that there is sufficient ground for 
interference in this matter. (H 96.) 


(20) Although we have been impressed by the progress made 
in the production of Indian films in the last few years we have 
been even more impressed by the necessity for improvement in 
the quality of the films produced. It is very desirable that more 
Indian films should be produced. But unless the quality is im- 
proved there is little hope for future expansion. Already we have 
observed indications of a falling off in the demand for Indian 
films, (f 97.) 

(21) There is urgent need for improvement in the stories, 
scenarios, acting, technique, photography in fact, in all respects 
although there has been some improvement, especially in photo- 
graphy. (f97.) 


(22) Such improvement can only be effected by the better 
training of all concerned, and such training is not at present avail- 
able in India. (H 97.) 

(23) It is essential that the whole level of production should 
be raised. This means that cultured people must come forward, 
not only as producers but as actors and actresses, (H 97.) 

(24) The main (Hfticulty is one of finance. Capitalists are 
shy. This is partly due to the stigma which is attached to the 
studios, partly to the fact that present producers are inexperienced 
in business and therefore do not command confidence, and partly 
to the failures which have occurred. (H 97.) 

(25) The producers are insufficiently organised. There is a 
lack of trade associations of sufficient authority. (H 97.) 

(26) There is also a remarkable dearth of reliable statistical 
and other information. (U 97.) 

Madan's alleged monopoly. 

(27) The complaints made against Madan's alleged mono- 
poly are also examined, and it is found that there is not sufficient 
ground for recommending that any action should be taken. 
(H 88 to H 92.) 

Cinema Department. 

Central Bureau and Advisory Committee. 
Tlie need for a central organisation. 

(28) If the trade and especially the film-producing industry 
are to develop and develop on sound lines, it is essential that there 
should be some central organisation to guide, assist and con- 
trol. (H 98.) 

(29) At present, the producing industry in this country is 
not in a position either to avail itself of and apply to its own 
conditions the results of the experience of .Western countries in 
film-making or to avoid the serious danger of production of films 
of purely local or regional appeal. It has neither the capital 
resources, the banking facilities, knowledge or the personnel 
required for this purpose. (H 100 and H 101.) 

(30) It would be nothing more than a pious aspiration if 
producers themselves were asked to undertake the steps which are 
necessary to improve the technique, quantity and quality gene- 
rally of their work. (H 102.) 

(31) Owing to the present limited home-market, it is not 
possible to expect an ordinary producer to increase to any great 
extent his production-cost because if he spends much more on a 
picture he cannot hope to get sufficient return to bring in a pro- 
fit, (f 102.) 


Constitution of Advisory Committee and Central Bureau. 

(32) It is therefore recommended that there be created a 
Cinema Department to form part of the Commerce Department of 
the Government of India. This department shall consist of an 
Advisory Committee with a Central Cinema Bureau as its exe- 
cutive branch. (H 103 and 1 118.) 

(33) The Advisory Committee should consist of not more than 
14 members, of whom 8, including the Chairman, should be non- 
officials representative of different communities and interests; the 
remaining G should be officials comprising 3 representatives of 
Departments of the Government of India and 3 representatives 
of the Provincial Governments. The Chairman and the majo- 
rity of the members should be Indians. (H 106 and H 107.) 

(34) The Central Bureau should consist of a body of techni- 
cal experts, and should comprise, it is suggested, a Director of 
film-production, a camera-man, a printing and developing expert 
and an electrician. (1[ 105.) 

(35)- It will be located at Bombay, which is the main seat 
of production as well as the chief importing centre. (H 105.) 

(30) At the head of the Bureau will be the Secretary of the 
Advisory Committee, who should be a permanent well-qualified 
officer. (1[ 10G.) 


(37) The function of the Cinema Department will be gene- 
rally to advise, guide and assist the trade and industry and work 
for its improvement. Advice and assistance in technical matters 
will be given by the experts of the Bureau arid advice on the busi- 
ness- aspects finance, business-management, etc. will be supplied 
by the Advisory Committee which will include experienced men 
of business. (11 106.) 

(38) The Secretary will be the mainspring of the Bureau's 
activities. It will be his task to bring the industry and the 
experts together and collect and distribute information of all kinds. 
His duties in this regard will be comprehensive, since the Bureau 
is expected and meant to be a clearing-house of information and 
technical assistance. (11 109.) 

(39) In order to execute its functions effectively it will be 
necessary for the Bureau 

(a) to maintain records of the facts and conditions of the 
trade and industry throughout the country. For this purpose it 
will keep registers of producers, importers, distributors and exhi- 
bitors and it shall be obligatory upon all those engaged in such 
activities to be registered. Similarly every film produced in or 
imported into this country must be registered. (The suggestions 
regarding registration are intended solely for the benefit of the 
trade and care should be taken to avoid any inquisitorial inter- 
ference with the internal business affairs of any particular concern.) 
The Bureau will also prescribe returns which are to be made by 
members of the trade. (H 112.) 


(b) The Bureau will also keep full information regarding 
cinema conditions and foreign markets throughout the world, and 
make such information accessible to the trado. (U 119.) 

(c) The experts will train Indians in technical matters. 

(11 liy.) 

(d) It is left to the Advisory Committee to decide whether 
the Bureau shall actually operate a studio. (K 108, also 11 165.) 

(e) It is likely that the Bureau will have to pioneer a 
developing and printing laboratory, which might later be handed 
over to private enterprise. (H 108, also H 166.) 

(/) The Bureau should maintain a library of educational 
films, both Indian and foreign, and arrange for their distribution. 
(11 110.) 

((j) It should publish information regarding Indian pro- 
ductions and developments of the industry. (11 111.) 

(li) It should hold annual competitions for the best Indian 
productions and award medals or certificates. (1] 113.) 

(i) Similar competitions should be held for scenarios with 
substantial money-prizes, successful scenarios to become the pro- 
perty of the Bureau for disposal to the trade of the country. 
(1f 113, also H 175.) 

(;) The Bureau might also offer to examine for a nominal 
fee any scenarios tendered for the purpose. (1[ 113 and H 165.) 


(40) The Cinema Department should be financed as 
follows : 

(a) The Departments of the Government of India should 
be directed, and the Provincial Governments invited, to contribute 
towards its maintenance as well as to co-operate in making it a 
siiccess. (1[ 115.) 

(b) The Trade, who are the chief beneficiary, will contribute 
by means of a cess. This cess will be in the form of an additional 
5 per cent on imported films, which will be collected by the Custom 
Houses in the same manner and at the same time as the existing 
15 per cent duty. (1[ 116.) 

(c) Any surplus from censoring fees which remains after 
defraying the cost of maintenance of the proposed censoring orga- 
nisation shall be allotted to the Cinema Department. (U 116.) 

(d) Any deficiency will be met by the Government of India. 
(11 117.) 

(41) It is estimated that the cost of the Bureau and Advisory 
Committee will be Rs. 4 lakhs per annum rising to Rs. 5 lakhs. 
(11 117.) 


Examination of the measures proposed for encouraging 
Production, Distribution and Exhibition. 

This Chapter opens with some general considerations regarding 
the present inefficiency of the cinema trade and industry in this 
country, its prospects, and its need of assistance, (f 121 to H 129.) 


It is then considered what further measures (in addition to the 
creation of a Central Bureau) are required. The three main pro- 
posals which have been suggested are then examined, and recom- 
mendations formulated as follows: 

Financial aid. 

(42) In view of the fact that finance is the great difficulty in 
the way of the development of the industry, it is recommended by 
the majority that loans be given on favourable terms to producers 
by Government, on the security of produced films approved by the 
Central Bureau in consultation with the Boards of Censors, or other 
approved security. Such loans should only be required in the 
initial stages and it is proposed that the scheme should be in force 
for ten years only. A capital of 5 or 10 lakhs furnished by the 
Central Government or by contributions from Local Government 
might be placed at the disposal of the Bureau or the Central Board 
of Censors for that purpose. (<! 130 to f 134.) 

The need for more cinemas. 

(43) It is necessary to find an outlet for the increased pro- 
duction which is anticipated. At present the market is- very 
restricted owing to the small number of cinemas open to Indian 
films and to other limitations. Efforts should be made both by 
Government and the public 

(a) to organise the distributing agencies so as to bring 
Indian pictures- within the reach of all the cinemas; 

(b) to encourage travelling cinemas to take more Indian 
pictures; and 

(c) to survey the possibilities of extending the number of 
cinemas and encouraging the use of public and educational halls 
for cinema exhibitions, (f 135 to H 140.) 

(44) What is particularly needed is the building of more 
cinemas. To this end it will be necessary (1) to remove financial 
difficulties, (2) to survey the possibilities, (3) to obtain the co- 
operation of the various* departments of public utility. It is 
expected that the Bureau will be able to devise means of achieving 
these objects. (H 141.) 

(45) But, in the first instance, Government must take definite 
action. It is unanimously agreed that local bodies should be en- 
couraged to bring into existence more halls for public purposes 
generally, including cinema exhibitions, and it is recommended by 
the majority that loans should be granted by Government to local 
bodies for the purpose, if required. The minority, while they have 
no strong objection to this- proposal, cannot definitely join in it. 
(If 141.) 

(46) It is also recommended by the majority that loans be 
granted from public funds to approved individuals or companies 
who propose to build eineina houses in any appreciable number. 
(The minority are opposed to this.) (f 141.) 


(47) It is recommended that public halls and halls attached 
to educational institutions should be placed at the disposal of 
travelling cinemas, only actual expenses being charged. (H 142.) 

Quota system. 

(48) With the double object of finding an outlet for suitable 
Indian films and removing the unsatisfactory feature, that Indian 
films are excluded from a large number of the well-equipped 
cinemas in India, the majority recommend that a qualified quota 
system for Indian films be imposed, for a period of ten years in the 
form outlined in the scheme appended to the chapter. (H 145.) 

(49) The difficulty of compelling all cinemas to exhibit a 
quota of Indian films is recognised and an arrangement for a 
transferable quota is therefore proposed, (f 148.) 

(50) It is hoped that within the next ten years 50 per cent 
of the films shown in India will be Indian. (The minority, while 
sharing in the hope, are opposed to the quota scheme.) (H 148.) 

Certain other measures for assisting the industry are then con- 
sidered and the following* crmrhisions and recommendations are 

Modifications of the tariff. 

(51) (a) It is considered that assessment of imported films 
on a tariff valuation or at a specific rate is inevitable, (f 153.) 

(b) We are of opinion that the concession recently made 
in the case of positives- printed abroad is unnecessary and is a 
retrograde step. The despatch of films abroad for printing, and 
still more for developing, should be definitely discouraged. We 
strongly recommend a reversion to the position prior to 1st January 
1928, so that all standard positive films should be liable to the same 
taxation, (fl 154.) 

(r;) Increase of duty on imported films as a protective 
measure is not recommended, (f 155.) 

(d) The duty on raw or virgin films should be abolished. 
This is a concession which the producing-industry can legitimately 
claim, (f 156.) 

(e) Exemption of duty on cinematograph machinery and 
chemicals is not recommended, (f 157.) 

(/) A rebate of duty on films of definite educational valtie 
should be granted, on a certificate given by the Bureau at the 
instance of the Censor, (fl 158.) 

(g) It is unnecessary to propose that the payment of draw- 
back on re-exported films should be prohibited. (H 159.) 

(h) It has been represented that the flat rate of duty 
presses heavily on the cheaper type of imported films. The 
importation of films of this type is to be discouraged as they com- 
pete with Indians films, and they should receive no tariff concession. 
(f 160.) 

(i) No tariff concession should be granted to duplicate 
copies, (f 161.) 



(52) It is recommended that provision be made, either by the 
Bureau or by independent or conjoint action on the part of the 
various Governments and the trade, for a limited number of scholar- 
ships for learning the technique of the industry abroad. Pre- 
ference should be given to those who have had some experience in 
this country. (U 164.) 

Classes for training. 

(53) There is no necessity at present for the opening of 
classes in schools or colleges for training in the various branches 
of the industry, (f 16T.) 

Facilities and concessions. 

(54) Producing concerns registered and recognised by the 
Bureau for that purpose should be allowed certain facilities of 
access to public buildings and the loan of troops, etc., on payment 
of actual expenses, and also railway fares at concession rates such 
as are granted to theatrical companies. (H 168.) 

The danger of non-Indian control. 

(55) If non-Indians should at any time threaten to acquire 
large cinema interests in this country otherwise than under the 
conditions prescribed for participation in the quota system (which 
are for securing the predominance of Indian interests) Government 
should arm themselves by legislation with powers to exclude them 
from operating. (K 170.) 

(56) No concerns in which Indian interests do not predomi- 
nate should be eligible for concessions or privileges. (The minority 
do not consider that Indian interests need necessarily predominate.) 
(11 171.) 

Misrepresentation of Indians in films exhibited abroad. 

(57) (a) The sending abroad of negatives exposed in this 
country should be allowed only after the sender has lodged a signed 
declaration of the nature of the subject in a prescribed form. 
(11 172.) 

(b) No* positive shall be exported until it has been passed 
by the Censor. 

(c) If cases occur in which Indians are depicted in an 
undesirable manner in films produced abroad, the Government of 
India should bring diplomatic influence to bear either through 
their own agents or through the representatives of Great Britain. 
(11 173.) 

Certain difficulties and defects of film-production in India. 

(58) The difficulties and defects referred to in Chapter IT 
regarding actors and actresses, deficiencies of scenarios, imitation 
of the West, lack of co-operation from the cultured classes, Muslim 
tastes, the language difficulty, provincial differences, communal 
susceptibilities, inadequate publicity, q,nd lack of authoritative 



historical books of reference, are expected to be overcome 
gradually with the assistance of the Bureau to which these matters 
are commended for special attention. (U 174 to f 183.) 

Communal susceptibilities. 

(59) While we are alive to the necessity for respecting the 
feelings of communities whether in social or religious matters, we 
are convinced that if the film industry in this country is to succeed 
the extreme tenderness which is now shown to them both by 
censoring authorities and the executive should disappear. The 
Indian producer has to contend against odds, and he cannot be 
expected to rise even to moderate prosperity in the industry if 
frivolous or hypercritical objections are to be respected. (1J 181.) 

Distribution and Exhibition. 
The Independent Exhibitor. 

(60) The difficulties of the independent exhibitor are inevit- 
able. The remedy lies in the direction of combination and the 
formation of groups, and it is hoped that the grant of loans will 
facilitate such combinations. (U 184.) 

Piracy of Films.- 

(61) For protection against piracy it is recommended that 
owners of rights in films should be permitted to register their 
copyrights with the Bureau, and that thereafter no certificate 
for any copy of such films should be granted to others than the 
registered owners except after a decision in the Civil Courts. 
(1 185.) 

Free Passes. 

(62) This handicap, of which complaint has been made by 
exhibitors, is likely to be diminished by the system of returns 
which has been recommended, (f 186.) 

Entertainments Tax. 

(63) It is recommended that seats costing less than Re. 1 
should be exempted from the tax. No distinction should be made 
between the cinema and the stage in this connection, (f 187.) 

Travelling Cinemas. 

(64) It is recommended that the Cinematograph Act be 
amended so as to provide for the grant of an exhibition license to 
travelling cinemas which, subject to certain safeguards, shall be 
current throughout the entire province, (f 188.) 

The Foreign Market. 

(65) There are limited prospects fov Indian films in those 
countries where there is an Indian population. But Indian films, 
as at present produced, have little or no chance of success in the 
West. For the purpose of making films with a universal appeal 
the co-operation of Western enterprise is needed at present, but 

co-operation must, in the opinion of the majority, be subject to 
certain restrictions. In other words, the Indian interest should 
predominate in such a joint concern; otherwise they should not be 
encouraged. The minority while accepting the principle are for 
limiting the restrictions to a minimum, (1[ 189 to H 195.) 

General conclusions. 

(66) The cinema industry should receive liberal treatment 
from Government. It contributes its share to the general revenue* 
of the country. It is of great national importance. (11 190 to 1l 199.) 


Educational and Public Utility Films. 
Use of the film in schools and colleges. 

(67) Regarding the use of the film in schools and colleges 
we consider that it can be employed as a useful adjunct to existing 
educational methods, especially in teaching technical and scientific 
subjects in the higher classes. (H 202.) 

(68) We are not prepared however to recommend expenditure, 
where such expenditure would have to be provided out of the 
normal budgets, as there are more urgent needs. (H 202.) 

(69) But we draw the attention of Provincial Governments, 
local bodies and public-spirited citizens to the desirability of pro- 
viding school and college students with facilities for seeing films 
of educational value. (1] 202.) 

Use of the film for mass adult education. 
Its value. 

(70) We have been strongly impressed by and we strongly 
urge the value of the cinema for mass adult education in this 
country. (11 203.) 

(71) Since the trade cannot be expected to purchase* and 
exhibit educational films from motives of philanthropy, this is a 
matter in which public authorities and bodies, from the Govern- 
ment of India down to the humblest Municipality or District Board, 
might act with advantage. (U 204.) 

(72) The film can be used to magnify the scope and efficiency 
of existing propaganda instruments, and the use of this instrument 
is therefore pressed most earnestly upon the attention of the 
Government and all these bodies. (U 204.) 

(73) Propaganda work by means of the films, apart from the 
quicker and more efficient achievement of its immediate objects, 
can be made into an instrument of untold value for harmonising 
ideals, ideas, customs, and practices all over the country. It can, 
in fact, be made into a nation-building force in the true sense of 
those words. (H 206.) 


It is little used. 

(74) Although sums, which, in the aggregate, amount to a 
considerable expenditure, are being spent in the various provinces 
on adult education and on propaganda by Government Departments, 
very little use has been made of the cinema. (H 204.) 

Concerted action. 

(75) In every province, the Provincial Governments, Minis- 
ters, the Heads of Departments and local self-governing bodies 
should combine in a common policy for mass education in the 
broader sense by means of the cinema. A Committee representative 
of all these different bodies and interests might be formed in each 
province in order, to lay down a definite concerted scheme of mass 
education by means of the film. (11 205.) 

(76) All provinces should also combine to support the Bureau. 

Compulsory exhibition of educational films. 

(77) It is recommended that it be made obligatory on all 
exhibitors to show at every exhibition a percentage of educational 
films, for not exceeding 15 minutes. (11 208.) 

Other modes of exhibition. 

(78) It is suggested that Provincial Governments, Departments 
and local bodies might also consider the advisability of employ- 
ing travelling cinemas for exhibiting educational films and (as in 
the Punjab) the use of cinema lorries. (K 209.) 

(79) They might also consider the desirability of acquiring or 
erecting, for the exhibition of such films, halls, which could be 
used also for other purposes, (f 209.) 


The Resolution of the Imperial Conference. 

(80) It is not recommended that any steps be taken for giving 
any special preference or encouragement to films produced within 
the Empire. (H 210.) 

Circumstances peculiar to India. 

(81) If too much exhibition of American films in the country 
is a danger to the national interest, too much exhibition of other 
Western films is as much a danger. (H 211.) 

(82) The film industry in India is in its infancy and it is 
vital to the national interest that the indigenous industry should 
be encouraged in every way. (f 212.) 

(83) Indian films produced on Indian subjects unless they are 
of a very superior kind ace hardly likely to command any audience 
in the West. (H 213.) 

(84) India is yet in a very backward state as regards her 
industrial activities and equipment, and scientific and technical 
knowledge. She will hardly be able to hold her own with Britain, 
for instance, with her centuries of industrial organisation and 
accomplishment, (f 214.) 

(85) With teeming millions in the country, the earning and 
spending capacity of the Indian hardly compares favourably with 
that of the citizens of other parts of the Empire. (11 215.) 

(86) India stands to gain if really her films can find an out- 
let to an equal extent to which Empire films can find an inlet 
here. But as malters stand at present and are likely to be for 
several years, the chances for her films are too remote to be taken 
into account in deciding practical issues. (11 215.) 

(87) The question of Imperial Preference is in fact bound up 
with issues political, racial, economic and otherwise. For instance, 
no discussion on the general question of preference can avoid consi- 
deration of the status of Indians abroad and in India itself. (H 216.) 

(88) While some of the members of the Committee may 
believe in Imperial Preference, we are all agreed that it is a matter 
which has io be considered in all its aspects as one question cover- 
ing all the issues and can be decided only by the Central 
Legislature. (U 216.) 

The economic merits. 

(89) Considering this question of preference on its economic 
merits also the Committee is satisfied that there is no necessity for 
any preferential treatment for the admission of British films in this 
country. No artificial aid is needed to advance the British film 
trade in this country. The Indian market is open to British films. 
There is a demand for such films. India is already taking an 
amount of British films which, in proportion to the output, is consi- 
derable. If Britivsh films of suitable quality and price are imported, 
they will find a market. In fact the old and strong trade connection 
between India and Britain and the natural predilections of Britons 
in India give British films in India a distinct preference. (H 217 
and U 218.) 

Other considerations. 

(90) It is no good to India to substitute artificially one class 
of non-Indian films for another. Our aim will be and should be to 
remove the non-Indian grip on the screen. (U 218.) 

(91) Under the Customs Regulations in England Indian 
films enjoy a preferential tariff of one-third over films produced 
outside the Empire, and under the recent Cinema Act Indian films 
can qualify for quota. While most of the members of the Committee 
are anxious to find the means by which the sentiments actuating 
Britain in passing her legislation may be reciprocated the practical 
difficulties stated prevent them from making any recommendations 
in the direction indicated. (H 219.) 

(92) It is- inadvisable to estrange foreign film-producing 
countries. (U 219.) 

(93) India has already ample opportunities of contact with 
British ideas. (11 220.) 

(94) Even if the Committee had decided on an Empire quota 
for India, it is obvious that the whole of it would have to be allotted 
to Indian films. (H 220.) 


Films of educational merit. 

(95) As regards films of sound educational merit, the 
Committee fully appreciate and endorse the views of the Conference 
that there is great need for the exchange of films of that sort 
between various parts of the Empire. India stands to gain a great 
deal on account of the vast illiteracy of the country by having more 
such films from the Empire and other parts of the world. The 
standards of life in other countries, conditions of labour, sanitary 
methods, civic life of the people, etc., if properly shown on the 
screen, will go a great way to remove the vast ignorance and tend 
to improve the conditions of the people in this country. (H 221.) 

(96) Every possible step should be taken to come to mutual 
understandings with the various parts of the Empire and with other 
countries for exchange of films of sound educational merits. 
(11 222.) 

(97) It will be the duty of the Bureau to devise means for 
such exchanges, (f 222.) 


Social Aspects and Control. 

(98) Censorship is certainly necessary in India and it is 
the only effective method of preventing the import, production 
and public exhibition of films which might demoralise morals, 
hurt religious susceptibilities or excite communal or racial 
animosities. (1J 223.) 

(99) The existing censorship has yielded, on the whole, 
satisfactory results, but its machinery is capable of improvement. 
(11 223.) 

(100) Owing to the volume of work it is impracticable for 
all films to be examined by members of the Boards at Bombay 
and Calcutta. (H 240.) 

(101) Most of the criticism has been of a general nature 
and much of it ill-informed. (H 241.) 

(102) The canons of censorship adopted by the Boards are 
in every way adequate, provided that they are intelligently and 
consistently applied, (f 241.) 

(103) The overwhelming majority of films certified for 
public exhibition in no way tend to demoralise the Indian public, 
or to bring Western civilisation into contempt. (U 243.) 

(104) Time and education, the latter partly supplied by the 
cinema itself, are the best remedies for any misunderstanding that 
may occur. (K 243.) 

(105) The fact that the Police unanimously believe that the 
cinema does not incite to crime is proof of the soundness of the 
canon of censorship regarding crime and of its adequate enforce- 
ment. The Police evidence is to our minds conclusive. (H 244.) 


(106) Certain classes of film-scenes showing passionate 
love-making have a tendency to demoralise the youth of the 
country and cause distinct apprehension in the minds of some 
conservative and thoughtful Indians, (f 246.) 

(107) Scenes showing long lingering kisses and passionate 
embraces, especially where emphasised by the fashionable ex- 
pedient of the "close up" might well, in a few instances, have 
been cut or abbreviated. (H 246.) 

(108)' Suggestive impropriety in dress, conduct and love- 
making should be somewhat more jealously discountenanced, not 
because such scenes harm European interests or Indian morals in 
particular, but because they may have a tendency to corrupt 
the morals of adolescents of all communities. By this it is not 
suggested that all scenes of low life, even all repellent scenes, 
should be banned. (H 246.) 

(109) A careful study of the facts will show that much of 
the criticism of the cinema in India had its origin outside India, 
and sprang from persons who were either not conversant with 
Indian conditions or who had fixed convictions not based on 
facts. (H 247.) 

(110) Trade propaganda has been a source of such criticism. 
(11 247.) 

(111) The Committee not only cannot aqcept the very doubt- 
ful statements of the Social Hygiene Delegation, but it appears 
obvious to them that they were made without adequate enquiry 
and partly at least as a result of pre-existing obsession. (U 248.) 

(112) No small amount of the existing criticism of films in 
India results from suggestive posters. Sometimes the critic has 
never seen the films at all. (H 249.) 

(113) The posters need greater control. Prc-censorship would 
be administratively very difficult and also most inconvenient to 
the trade. Therefore the Magistracy or Police should be given 
power to direct any objectionable poster to be forthwith removed, 
and disobedience to such an order should be punishable by a 
Magistrate with a fine. (H 249.) 

(114) The complaint that too much tenderness is bestowed 
on communal, racial, political and even colour considerations in 
regard to films is not altogether ill-founded. (U 251.) 

(115) It is hardly believable that a historical film picturing 
incidents, say, of the French Revolution, will incite any ordinary 
member of an audience to attempt to overthrow the Government 
by law established in India. A propaganda film prepared by a 
hostile power might of course have such a tendency, (f 251.) 

(116) The idea that a film should be banned merely because 
the subject matter may by oversubtle analogy be interpreted as 
having a possible reference to current questions should be depre- 
cated. (H 251.) 

(117) The Censor and administrative officers should not en- 
courage individuals who in their private or representative capa- 
cities object to film plots or incidents. Overmuch tenderness to 


frivolous objections is more likely to encourage dissension. This 
applies to a considerable extent even to films of a religious or 
social reform tinge, (f 251.) 

(118) There is nothing to choose between the Boards in 
relation to moral standards, (fl 252.) 

(119) Conflicts of opinion between the Boards on moral 
questions are most exceptional. (H 252.) 

(120) It is contrary to public policy that there should be 
dissensions between different Boards and provinces, and it is not 
fair to the importer, producer or exhibitor. (U 252.) 

(121) It is believed that a Central Board will obviate all 
genuine difficulties, (f 253.) 

The proposed re- organisation of the machinery of Censorship. 

(122) A Central Board, which may be designated the 
" Indian Board of Film Censors " should be established. (U 254.) 

(123) It should be located at Bombay, because the produc- 
ing industry in India is predominantly based on Bombay, a 
cosmopolitan city where every creed, caste and race is represented, 
and also because the Bombay Board already does more than half 
the censoring of the whole of the Indian Empire, (f 254.) 

(124) It should consist of seven or nine members with a 
majority of Indian non-officials and a non-official Indian Chairman. 
The members should be ladies or gentlemen (for sex should be no 
disqualification) of standing and wide culture, and should be 
appointed by the Government of India. The Commissioner of 
Police should be a member ex officio. (1f 254.) 

(125) As its Chief Executive Officer and Secretary it should 
have a Chief Censor on a salary of about Us. 1,000 50 1,500, who 
should be a man of culture, preferably an Indian, with University 
qualifications, and who should have travelled abroad as well as 
in India. (H 254.) 

(126) All imported films tendered for censorship will be 
examined by the Chief Censor who will forthwith issue a certifi- 
cate in the name of the Board if he sees nothing objectionable 
in it, or if any excision or change in it which he may propose is 
accepted by the owner or his accredited agent. But if he considers 
that the film should be banned, or that excisions or alterations 
unacceptable to the owner should be made before certification, he 
will refer the matter to the Board for decision, (f 254.) 

(127) The Central Board will also deal with any Indian 
films that may be tendered to it. Such films should be seen by 
the Censor with two members or by the Chairman and the Censor, 
(1 254.) 

(128) In order to associate the trade, the public and recog- 
nised institutions with the work of censorship, when any film is 
being viewed by the Censor or Deputy Censor or members of the 
Board, a representative of the trade, the Municipal Corporation, 
the University, the Police and recognised social service organisa- 
tions should be allowed to attend in $n honorary and advisory 
capacity, (f 254.) 


(129) A sitting fee of Es. 20 for three hours' attendance 
or less should be given to all members of the Board including 
the Chairman, No payment for voluntary attendances. The 
Chairman should be given a monthly honorarium of Es. 250. The 
Chairman and the members should be appointed for three years, 
subject to renewal; and the Censor for five years, subject to proba- 
tion for one year and also to renewal. (H 254.) 

(130) There should be a Deputy Censor, subordinate to the 
Central Board, stationed at Calcutta for the censorship of imported 
films. (H 255.) 

.(131) Also there should be Provincial Boards, where neces- 
sary, for the censoring of locally produced feature films, (fl 255.) 

(132) Where no Central or Provincial Board exists, power 
should be given to the Presidency or District Magistrate to certify 
topical films. (H 255.) 

(133) There will be no work for the Punjab Board unless 
and until feature films are produced in Northern India. The 
Punjab Board should therefore disappear for the time being. 
(1! 255.) 

(134) The original censoring done by the Madras Board is 
so exiguous that this Board also should be discontinued, (f 255.) 

(135) In Bengal and Burma the present Boards should be 
reconstituted into Provincial Boards which should be entitled to 
certify for all India any topical or feature film produced in India 
or Burma and tendered to them. The Burma Board should also 
censor Chinese films, (f 255.) 

(136) The Bengal and Burma Boards should consist of . five 
or seven members, including the Chairman, of whom not less than 
three or four, as the case may be, including the Chairman, should 
be non-official Indians or Burmans. The Commissioner of Police 
should be an ex officio member. (H 255.) 

(137) All indigenous (and Chinese) films should be examined 
by at least 2 members, except that the Chairman sitting alone 
should be authorised to certify news gazettes. (H 255.) 

(138) If the Government of any province other than Bombay, 
Bengal or Burma, consider that a new Provincial Board is neces- 
sary in the interests of local producers, they should move the 
Government of India to create a new Provincial Board. (U 255.) 

(139) All certificates, by whomsoever issued, will be valid 
throughout British India, (f 258.) 

(140) The Central Board will lay down general canons of 
censorship for the guidance of the Chief and Deputy Censor and 
for the information of Provincial Boards, (f 258.) 

(141) Both Ihe Central Board and the Deputy Censor should 
have their own projection rooms, operators and offices. (If 256.) 

(142) When the Provincial Governments exempt any films, 
they should send full particulars to the Central Board, (f 259.) 

(143) Obviously the right to appeal to Provincial Govern- 
ments must in the suggested scheme be withdrawn, (H 260.) 



(144) Any person feeling himself aggrieved by a decision 
of any Board or other certifying authority should be entitled to 
apply to the Government of India to revise that decision and the 
Government should always, when adjudicating the matter, have 
before it the report of the Central Bureau. It might suitably 
be laid down that all such applications should be submitted to 
Government through the Bureau, This procedure would assist 
the Bureau to become that real centre of film information and co- 
ordination which the Committee hope to see it become. (H 260.) 

(145) The Provincial Governments must still retain the 
power to declare uncertified in their province any film the exhibi- 
tion of which may endanger law and order or, for special local 
or iemporary reasons, be -likely to cause bad blood. (U 261.) 

(146) For this two limitations are advocated : 

(i) no film should be banned before it is viewed; 
(ii) no film should be suspended, and still less declared 
uncertified, on merely moral grounds. (U 261.) 

(147) The authority of the censorship ought to prevail 
against an individual's whim or judgment until and unless there 
has been an impartial and informed adjudication. (K 261.) 

(148) The Provincial Government concerned, either on its 
own motion or on the motion of a Magistrate or responsible Police 
officer, should, if it considers that a certified film offends against 
good morals, move the Government of India through the Central 
Bureau to adjudicate the matter. (^| 261.) 

(149) The Central Board will have to prescribe the registers 
to be maintained and the returns to be made and make rules for 
the supply of extracts on payment of fees, (f 262.) 

(150) The Board could safely allow Provincial Boards and 
District Magistrates to sanction omissions from certified films and 
also the insertion of translation of sub-titles or captions, (f 262.) 

(151) The Board should keep in close touch with the Central 
Bureau, which should be entitled to call for reports and informa- 
tion from the Board and from its chief Executive Officer, the 
Censor, (f 262.) 

(152) The suggested scheme for a centralise?] censorship 
provides for censorship either by well-qualified and well-paid 
stipendiaries or by actual members of the Boards; it will achieve 
uniformity of standard while preserving elasticity and safeguard- 
ing provincial and local rights. It will also obviate delays except 
in contentious cases, and also will associate with the work of 
censorship accredited public bodies and the trade. (U 263.) 


(153) For the benefit the trade receives from the proposed 
reorganisation of the machinery of censorship, it should pay. The 
censorship fee should be raised to Jls. 10 per 1,000 feet, (f 264.) 


Children and the Cinema. 

(154) Children are probably less likely to suffer from seeing 
films of doubtful morality than from witnessing scenes of violence 
and sensation which are absolutely harmless to the adolescent or 
the adults (H 265.) 

(155) It is mainly for the parents or natural guardians of 
children to protect them and keep them away from harmful enter- 
tainments, and the Committee are definitely opposed to films being 
certified as for adults only. (11 265.) 

(156) At present, it is recognised, parents have little oppor- 
tunity of knowing whether a particular film is suitable for children 
or not. It is therefore recommended that the English practice 
of issuing two classes of certificates should be tried. (11 265.) 

(157) It should be made obligatory on the exhibitor to indi 
cate on his posters and in all advertisements when the film 
advertised has received a "Universal" certificate. (11 265.) 



with films. 

(158) Once a film has been tendered for censorship, no 
alteration should be made in it pending the final decision, except 
w r ith the consent of the Censor. (11 266.) 

(159) Every copy of a film should be accompanied, wherever 
it goes for exhibition, by the original certificate or by a certified 
copy of the certificate. (1] 267.) 

(160) The Act should be amended so as to make tampering 
with a film after censorship a substantive offence punishable, on 
conviction by a Presidency or a First-class Magistrate, with a fine 
which may extend to Us. 1,000 and the confiscation of the film, 
(11 268.) 

(161) The amendment should make it clear that tlie person, 
firm or company at whose instance the film was certified, should 
be deemed liable for the tampering unless he or they can prove 
that it was done without his or their cognizance. (II 268.) 

Post-censorship control. 

(162) It is the business of the ordinary Civil administration 
to administer the Act in respect of public exhibitions. (H 269.) 

(163) In each district the District Magistrate or some other 
prescribed authority, working with the co-operation of the sub- 
ordinate magistracy and police, should take an informed interest 
in the cinematographs within his- jurisdiction. (H 269.) 

(164) It should be made obligatory on every^ exhibitor to 
furnish weekly programmes in advance to the prescribed authori- 
ties. (H 269.) 


(165) If a Magistrate considers that for genuine local 
reasoiig a film should not be exhibited in his district, he should 
exercise his statutory powers under section 7 (5) of the Act, but this 
power should not be lightly exercised. (U 269.) 

(166) The posting of notices in cinema houses stating to 
whom complaints about films should be addressed might be made 
a condition of the licence. This might also encourage the forma- 
tion of "Better Film" societies and like institutions. (H 270.) 

Obscene films. 

(167) The censorship has entirely prevented and will pre- 
vent the public exhibition of obscene films, and it is not the 
function of the censorship to deal with private exhibitions. 
There was no definite evidence that such films have been import- 
ed or produced. (1J 271.) 

Provincial Advisory Boards. 

(168) The Provincial Governments, other - than those of 
Bombay, Bengal and Burma, would be well advised to -constitute 
small but representative bodies to advise them about all film 
matters, (f 272.) 

(169) The members of such Advisory Boards should also 
make a point of visiting the cinemas in their area so that they 
may keep themselves in touch with the actual conditions. 
(U 272.) 

The Army. 

(170) The Committee do not think that the censorship can 
take Army needs into special consideration when certifying films. 
(11 273.) 

(171) The Indian soldier's abstention is mainly due to 
economic causes, but it is als-o true that he has not facilities for 
seeing tlie cinema within his lines equal to those enjoyed by 
British soldiers. (M 274.) 

(172) The private exhibitor should be encouraged by, the 
military authorities to exhibit Indian films to the Indian troops. 
Facilities should be granted by the authorities for the exhibition 
to them of Indian films, e.g., by allowing the use of Government 
or regimental halls, (f 274.) 

(173) It may be desirable for the military authorities to 
observe a stricter licensing system in cantonment areas for dis- 
ciplinary reasons but they should not seek to make a financial 
profit out of such a restriction, (f 275.) 

(174) Where there is a considerable civil population resi- 
dent in a cantonment the authorities should not ordinarily refuse 
permission for new r houses to be opened primarily for their 
patronage. (^\ 275.) 

Historical and archwoloyical information. 

(175) Historical and archaeological monographs covering 
different periods by selected independent writers would be un- 
doubtedly useful to the trade, and the Central Bureau should, as 
soon as finances admit, budget for the production of the suggested 
monographs. (1! 276.) 

The Indian Stakes. 

(176) The Government of India should point out to the 
Indian States the advantages of collaboration both in- respect of 
legislation and administration, and induce them to contribute 
towards the success of the Central Bureau organisation, (f 277.) 


(177) The question of the abolition of bars from cinema 
houses is a matter more for local authorities to deal with than 
for general legislation. It is confidently felt that the licensing 
authorities will prevent abuses and not permit the sale of cheap 
alcoholic drinks, such as country spirit and toddy, (f 279.) 


(178) In some places, especially in Burma, smoking is per- 
mitted inside cinema halls. The halls are often not well venti- 
lated and if the light on the screen is not very good, the clear- 
ness of the picture suffers. The exhibitors would be well advised 
to consider carefully whether such permission attracts more per- 
sons than it keeps away. (11 280.) 

The directions in which legislative action will be required. 

282. Our two main recommendations namely, the creation of 
a Central Cinema Department and the centralisation of the 
machinery of censorship with provincial auxiliary agencies will 
no doubt involve some radical changes, requiring re-arrangenient or 
Provincial and Central subjects, amendment of the Devolution 
Eules and also legislative amendments and additions in the Indian 
Cinematograph Act and possibly other Acts. 

The control of the cinematograph is now a Provincial Reserved 
subject, while legislation iu regard to sanction of films for exhibi- 
tion is to be made by the Indian Legislature. 

Development of Industries is now a Provincial Transferred 

Our view, which we have developed in the various chapters, 
is that in the case of the cinema the principle underlying items 
19 and 20 in the Hist of Central subjects applies. Both Control 
and Production ought to be made Central subjects and the agency 
of Provincial Governments should be invoked as largely as 

The Indian Cinematograph Act will have to be substantially 
amended. Power will have to be given to Provincial Govern- 
ments to form advisory committees and to make appointments to 


Provincial Boards when they are constituted. Provision for the 
'creation of a Central Bureau and an Advisory Committee and a 
Central Censorship Board, for registration of films, protection of 
copyright in films, prescribing penalties for tampering with cer- 
tified films and several other matters dealt with in the various 
chapters will have to be made. 

The Tariff will also have to be amended. Legislation will be 
needed to impose the cess recommended. 

It will have to be considered whether a single self-contained 

Act dealing with all aspects of the Cinema Trade and Industry 

including Production and Control will not be the most effective 
means of introducing the changes required. 

Our intention here is merely to indicate the directions in 
which legislation will be needed. The subject will of course have 
to be examined later in detail by the legislative experts attached 
to the Government of India after it has been decided what steps 
should be taken. 

Financial results. 

iJS'j. As regards the financial results involved by our recom- 
mendations, while we accept the principle that the bulk of the 
burden should fall on the trade and industry, we also consider 
that the general revenues both Provincial and Central should 
share a portion thereof. In the first place there is the fact that 
a fairly large amount is raised from Customs duties on imported 
films, from Profession Tax and Income Tax paid by those in the 
trade. There are recoveries from License Fees. In the next 
place, the cinema is- useful as an educative factor in the broad 
sense of the term. It is also useful to the public, enabling them 
to enjoy their leisure hours. There is also the factor that it is a 
case of aiding an industry which is bound to grow and become 
more and more popular, while the net deficiency to be met after 
all from the general revenues will not be large. A contribution 
to the extent of Us. 5 lakhs per annum at the outside, from all 
the Governments put together, will be more than ample to keep 
the two central agencies we have recommended working efficiently, 
and when the trade and industry are sufficiently organised this 
contribution will cease to be necessary. 




284. We have sketched in some detail our conclusions and 

recommendations on the various points which 
Repetition. ^ Q ^ e Qut o{ ^ re f erence to this Committee. 

The reference comprised three main heads but each main head 
involved a number of subsidiary issues'. Some of the questions 
and considerations were common to several parts of the report, and 
as we were anxious to present each part in full a certain amount 
of repetition was unavoidable. 

285. We are glad to record that we received considerable 

assistance during the course of our enquiries 

offiSKsponl n n ' * , many *"**% - e i P ! Ci ! Uy fr m I 11 ' 
officials and n on -official bodies, in almost 

all the provinces. Considerable interest was aroused in practi- 
cally every province which we visited; in fact interest became 
greater as our enquiry progressed. We have already referred in 
a previous chapter to the interest taken in our enquiry by the 
various Provincial Governments. The only two provinces where 
the response, both official and non-official, must be considered to 
r-ave been poor were the United Provinces and Bihar and Orissa. 

We are deeply conscious of the difficulty of the questions 
with which we have been asked to deal and their vital importance 
to the future of the cinema trade and industry in the country. 
There are some aspects of the questions which required expert 
knowledge and it was not always adequately available. The 
circumstances in India have made it necessary for us to devise 
proposals to bring the State into far more intimate relations with 
this industrial enterprise than is perhaps: the case in other parts 
of the British Empire. We have been strongly impressed by the 
earnest demands throughout India for the healthy progress and 
development of this industry more especially on the part of 
Indians and Indian public men. The press generally throughout 
the country helped us very largely in the course of our enquiries. 
All publicists, both European and Indian, Congressmen and 
non-Congressmen, came forward to assist the Committee with 
valuable suggestions. We have to express our obligations and 
we do so most freely to those ladies and gentlemen, both official 
and non-official, who helped us throughout. We are sanguine that 
the public will respond to any well-considered scheme which the 
Government may think fit to adopt and we submit our report in 
the earnest hope that our recommendations will, with the appro- 
val of the Government and the good-will of the trade and the 
public, help in some measure towards the betterment of the 
conditions of the cinema trade and industry in the country. 


286. It is oxir pleasant dxity gratefully to acknowledge the 

Acknowledgments. S ener ? u -hoBpitality which we received, 
especially from non-onicials, everywhere, 

and from most of the Provincial Governments, throughout the 
course of our work. We also desire to express our thanks to the 
various Provincial Governments and Administrations for the 
assistance they rendered us in facilitating our enquiry and in 
gathering the requisite information, which was not easily obtain- 
able. We are specially grateful to the Government of Burma 
for the arrangements they made for our tour, there, which was 
more extended than in other provinces. 

Particular mention must be made of the very heavy wor^ 
we had to throw on the various Censorship Boards, more especially 
those of Bombay, Calcutta and Burma. We had to trouble them 
very often for figures and other information. All the Provincial 
Boards gave us wholehearted assistance both in furnishing figures 
and seciiring the attendance of witnesses. 

We have now only to record our deep appreciation of the 
very valuable services of Mr. G. G-. Hooper, our Secretary. He 
did not spare himself in the^ discharge of the very troublesome 
duties which he undertook. The Chairman especially desires to 
place on record his grateful appreciation of the very valuable 
assistance Mr. Hooper gave him right through. He had to work 
under pressure and against time. 

T. RANGACHARI, Chairman. 



K. C. NEOGY, > Members. 

A. M. GREEN,* I 




* Subject to & Minuto of Dissent. 



Parts of Chapter IV only in question. 

We regret that we are unable to agree with the general argu- 
ment underlying Chapter IV, and in particular with the recom- 
mendations regarding a quota for Indian films and the grant of 
financial aid at the expense of public funds. But though we can- 
not accept responsibility for anything in that Chapter, except those 
recommendations to which our specific assent is given either in 
that Chapter or in this minute, it will be seen that we are in 
complete sympathy with many of the recommendations contained 
in the Chapter. In fact we join in the definite recommendations 
contained therein except those we have referred to in this minute 
though we do not accept all the reasoning put forward. 

(( Majority " and " Minority " misleading terms. 

2. We must first emphasise that though in Chapter IV the 
terms " Majority " and " Minority " are used, they are used in 
a very unusual sense. The Committee is in fact equally divided 
on the points at issue. We fully recognise that in such circum- 
stances the view favoured by the Chairman should be presented 
in the body of the report, and the other view in a dissenting mi- 
nute, but we feel that to describe three members out of a com- 
mittee of six as a majority without qualification is to assign to that 
term a sense out of the ordinary. 

Indian films popular and profitable. 

3. Next we would point out that we are in every way as an- 
xious as our colleagues to further the interests of the Indian film 
producing industry. The differences between us simply and solely 
result from differing appreciations of facts and figures. We are 
convinced that our colleagues have been misled by a failure to 
appreciate the true position of the industry. It is common ground 
between us that the demand for Indian films exceeds the supply, 
and that the production of Indian films such as are at present 
being produced is commercially profitable. This comes out very 
clearly in the evidence given before us in all parts of the country. 
Indian films command a better hire and yield better returns to the 
exhibitor than the ordinary run of imported films. This is not 
a question of opinion, but fact capable of demonstration by offi* 
cial figures. When we examined Mr. Stenson, Supervisor, Bom- 
bay Entertainments Duty Act, we asked him to extract from his 
registers the takings over a given period of some of the leading 
cinema houses exhibiting imported and Indian films. He did 
so and in a supplementary statement which is printed in 



evidence [and as Appendix L (2)] he showed that in the first half of 
the calendar year 1927, the three leading cinemas in Bombay which 
show only imported films realised between them Rs. 2,42,061 from 
their taxed seats, while the three leading cinemas which show only 
Indian films realised Rs. 2,83,581 from their taxed seats. The 
actual difference is of course greater than appears from this return, 
because it takes no account of the revenue from seats costing 4 annas 
or less, which are not taxed. The revenue from the 4 anna seats in 
cinemas showing imported films is inconsiderable, whereas the 4 
and 3 anna seats in cinemas showing Indian films are normally 
crowded and yield a very considerable revenue. Further, the 
former class of cinemas are more expensive to run than the latter, 
as their patrons demand greater comforts and more expensive 
music. Consequently, the latter are clearly more remunerative 
than the former. The same applies in the other two key cities, 
Calcutta and Rangoon, in each of which we found indigenous films 
drawing far greater audiences than Western films, and enjoying 
longer runs, extending sometimes to many weeks on end. As the 
report points out, the film owner's main profits are made in the 
three key cities, and as indigenous films ate so popular and 
remunerative in those cities it is easy to understand why their 
production is profitable and why they command so high a rent. 
This, and this only, is the reason why they are not more univer- 
sally shown in other places. The up country cinema owners are 
crying out for Indian films, but often complain, especially those 
in the smaller cities, that they cannot pay the rent demanded by 
the producers. They can only obtain Indian films, at a rent which 
they can afford to pay, after the films have been exhibited for 
many weeks in the key cities. Indian films, just like imported 
films, have to filter down slowly from the bigger to the smaller 
cities, and the smallest cities may never be able to afford either 
the star Indian or imported film at all. No doubt as the stock of 
Indian films grows, the older productions will decline in rentable 
value and will come within the means of the smaller exhibitors. 
The benefit to the exhibitor in the lesser cities will be great. Few 
of these, even with a bi-weekly change of programme, can really 
fill their halls more than twice or thrice a week, say once for each 
programme of imported films, but if for three days they show 
imported, and for four days Indian films, they will tap two differ- 
ent audiences. Some exhibitors are doing this already, and many 
men would undoubtedly do so if the organization of the Trade, 
especially on the distribution side, were more efficient. 

Rapid growth of Indian production. 

4. But let us return to figures. Chapter IV of the report quotes 
figures of Indian production, but does not draw from them their 
clear lesson. Reference to Tables 9, 10 and 11 will show that the 
percentage of Indian to the total footage of films examined by 


Boards of Censors ross from 9-57 in 1921-22 to 14-92 in 1927-28, if 
Burma be excluded, and from 9-03 to 21-2 if Burma be included. In 
other words in six years the percentage rose by nearly 135 per cent 
while the total Indian footage examined rose from 461,868 to 
1,336,525 in 11 months^, say, 1,459,000 in the full year or by no less 
than 216 per cent. It is impossible to exclude Burma from consider- 
ation, as our colleagues seem to demand, because Western films 
censored in India proper circulate freely in that province, as is 
instanced by the fact that Kangoon is one of the three key cities. 
The rate of increase in imported films was very much lower. Tables 
9 and 10 at first sight indicate a fall in 1923-24 and in 1924-25, and 
then a rise till the 1922-23 figure was again reached in 1927-28, 
But in the earlier years the figures were swollen by the fact that the 
Boards issued many formal certificates for films which had been 
exhibited in the country before they started work. In Appendix F 
an attempt has been made to allow for this factor, and to work out 
the approximate lengths of exposed film actually imported from 
the year 1922-23 onwards. Here we have as guides the total 
length of film, raw and exposed, and the customs duty collected 
thereon from the year 192223 down to the year 192627, while 
in 192728 the figures actually differentiate between raw and ex- 
posed film. The figures of import and customs duty are official 
figures supplied by the Director-General of Commercial Intel- 
ligence and Statistics, and are derived from the customs returns. 
As duty throughout the years 1922-23 to 192627 was collected at 
the fixed rate of Us. 37-8-0 per 1,000 feet of exposed film, and as 
this duty is nearly five times as heavy as the yield of the 15 per 
cent ad valorem duty on raw film, the approximate length of ex- 
posed film imported in each year is easy of ascertainment. The 
final footages of exposed film imported come in millions of feet to 
6.79 in 1922-23, 5.75 in 1923-24, 6.25 in 1924-25, 7.66 in 1925-26, 
9.77 in 1926-27 and on the basis of 11 months actuals 10.24 in 
1927-28. The percentage of increase in five years is a little less 
than 51. But a further examination of the 19$<-28 figures shows 
that 837,183 feet of exposed film did not pay duty on import, 
which means that it was film, either Indian or foreign, which had 
been in India before and was re-imported into India. The total 
must also include imports of non-standard film, such as those 
mentioned in paragraph 278 of Chapter VIII, imports which do 
not compete in any way with the Indian Industry and which form 
a recent trade development. It follows that the true percentage 
of increase is something less than 51. During the same five years 
the footage of indigenous film examined by the censors increased 
by nearly 116 per cent. Such an expansion is all the more re- 
markable, for it must be remembered that the period was one of 
great trade depression, when the raising of capital for any indus- 
trial enterprise was extremely difficult. Nor is this all. Indian 
films often have longer runs and are exhibited more times a day 
than imported films (vide Chapter II, paragraph 58), and it 

therefore follows that indigenous films occupy a higher propor- 
tion of the total screen time than would appear from the figures 
already given. 

Government financial aid unnecessary and undesirable. 
5. In the light of all these facts we cannot understand how our 
colleagues can seriously maintain that Government should aid the 
industry financially or that a quota is necessary. To the quota 
system we have no objection in principle, and we should have 
joined our colleagues in recommending it had we considered it 
necessary or advantageous to the trade, and had we been able to 
work out a feasible scheme. We shall however show later that, 
circumstances being what they are, the imposition of a quota would 
definitely harm the industry. But we object most strongly on 
principle to the suggestion that Government should give public 
money on easy terms or on any terms to an industry which 
by no stretch of imagination can be regarded as a key industry. 
The film industry, despite its educational value, is predomi- 
nantly and essentially an entertainment or luxury industry. 
If financial aid be given to the film industry, how many moie 
deserving industries will not justly demand subsidies? Even were 
financial aid by Government necessary, and we are convinced that 
it is not, it is inconceivable that it should be granted without some 
measure of Government control. Such control is and must always 
be irksome to business undertakings, and we can imagine no 
industry to which Government control would prove a wetter blanket 
than the film industry, which has- or should have a pronounced 
artistic and cultural side. Further, the industry is essentially an 
urban industry in India; generally speaking towns of less than 
50,000 inhabitants cannot support a cinema hall, and travelling 
cinemas are few. If therefore Government accorded financial aid 
to the industry from general revenues-, it would in effect be assist- 
ing urban interests at the expense of the general tax-payers, the 
great majority of ^hom are rural. Finally, if a producer or exhi- 
bitor has a good "business proposition," he will be able to raise 
money in the ordinary course; he will only approach Government 
if he is a man of straw or if his proposition does not commend itself 
to business men. To indulge in such speculation would indeed be 
a new and fantastic role for any responsible Government. Our 
colleagues merely beg the question when they seek to justify 
Government loans by citing the accepted policy of discriminating 
protection. This policy obviously cannot be invoked in aid of a 
luxury industry which without assistance has expanded rapidly 
and is earning good profits. Nor can we believe that our colleagues 
on deeper reflection would cite as an analogy Government loans 
for erecting buildings or purchasing motor-cars. Government 
grant s-uch loans only to their own servants, recover the capital 
and interest by monthly deductions from their pay, and in addition 
have very tangible security in the car or building itself, which has 
Jo be mortgaged to Government. 


Existing demand for Indian films exceeds supply the facts 
about "Sacrifice." 

6. To sum up this section of our argument, we repeat that the 
demand for Indian films exceeds the supply and that the producing 
industry has- ample screen time at its disposal, of which it will in 
the natural course of events avail itself more fully as it develops. 
It is not prevented from finding a market for its wares in its own 
country, as was the case in England and other countries, owing to 
advance booking. If we believed that our colleagues' interpretation 
of the history of that excellent and truly Indian film "Sacrifice" 
were correct, and that its marketing in India was beset with 
difficulties, we should have agreed that a strong argument for 
action had been adduced. But our interpretation of the history of 
that film is very different. Us exhibition in Bombay yielded a 
remarkable financial return, and its makers then took the only print 
which they had made of it to Calcutta. They were not satisfied 
with the terms offered for ii by Madan's but received a firm and 
satisfactory offer from the .Globe Circuit, a circuit which, as our 
colleagues themselves point out, had not hitherto exhibited any 
Indian films. But the makers of the film, influenced in part at 
least by the encouragement and praise of s-ome members of our 
committee, decided before showing it further in India to see 
whether they could tap the more extensive and remunerative 
markets of Europe. If they succeed, their profits will be great and 
their Indian market will still be open to them. They will also have 
demonstrated that India can produce films of universal appeal, and 
will have blazed the trail for the Indian industry. We applaud 
their enterprise and their patriotism. 

The producers' real problem market, i.e., theatres. 

7. ,We will now proceed to state the real problem which in our 
opinion faces the Indian producer. Essentially it is the market 
problem. All over the world the amount of money that can be 
safely sunk in the production of a film is limited by the market 
open to the film and the revenue obtainable therefrom. The big 
American producers can spend immense sums on. ( super feature ' 
productions, because they are assured of a market in the thousands 
of theatres in their own country and in every country. Their in- 
sistence on ' universal appeal ' is of course due to their desire f or 
the largest possible market. The larger the market, the more widely 
spread are their overhead charges and in fact all their production 
costs. Consequently, the territorial rights in films of the highest 
quality, which cost huge sums to produce, can be purchased at 
reasonable prices, for the sum of the royalties paid for territorial 
rights in every part of the world is* naturally a large figure. The 
values of the royalties must of course depend on the number and 
earning capacity of the theatres in each territory. The greater the 
potential earnings, the greater the royalties which the distributor 


can and will pay. In other words in the film world market means 
theatres. This truism applies to India and to Indian producers with 
equal foice. We agree with our colleagues that every practicable 
&tep should be taken to increase the number of cinema houses in 
India. Such an increase would mean greater profits for producers, 
and therefore better productions. At present Indian pfoducers 
seldom spend more than lis. 20,000 on a film; the average is pro- 
bably hardly as much as lis. 15,000. Popular and paying as these 
cheap films are, there is an admitted risk that their popularity will 
wane as Indian audiences become more sophisticated unless their 
quality is improved. Improvement of quality means some increase 
in expenditure, and increased expenditure connotes a wider market, 
that is, more theatres-. By theatres, of course, we mean theatres 
with audiences. 

How to expand the home market. 

8. Now how is this wider market to be secured ? There are 
several possibilities. In the first place, the cinema habit is growing 
slowly perhaps but surely. As has been shown in Chapter II, 
the number of cinema-houses lias doubled since 1921. The habit 
has been created mainly by imported films, and as the indigenous 
film in the ordinary course of events filters down to the smaller 
mofussil theatres, the habit will undoubtedly be encouraged. Its 
growth will be further aided by the greater use of the film for 
public utility propaganda, by facilities being accorded for the 
exhibition of films of all kinds in public buildings, and by 
sympathetic encouragement of travelling cinemas, whatever be 
the nature of their exhibitions. Regarding these three points 
we are at one with our colleagues. But we are convinced that an 
expansion of the market must be secured primarily by the trade 
itself. God helps those that help themselves. Much greater enter- 
prise could and should be shown by film producers and renters 
to extend their connections and to tap all available houses. In 
particular when Indian films have been exhibited in the key and 
larger cities, they should welcome smaller receipts from what 
may be termed the second or third run cities. They should even 
cheerfully arrange for runs which may yield them no financial 
profit at all, for by doing so they will be encouraging the growth 
of the cinema habit and sowing the seed of future profit. Again 
producers should organise themselves. The present situation is 
pitiable. There is a number of relatively petty concerns, most 
of which lack almost entirely expert knowledge of technical 
processes and of business methods. Few have more than one or 
two men with foreign experience some have none and frequently 
as soon as a director or camera man has uchieved any success, he 
breaks with his employer and founds a new concern. Real progress 
is impossible in these circumstances, and it is no wonder that 
capital fights shy of such producing concerns despite the admitted 
fact that, in the words of our colleagues, "Indian films however 
poor pay well/ 1 Some of the Indian films which we have seen 


afford ample proof that there are in the ranks of the industry 
to-day a few men of ideas, of culture, and of dramatic instinct, 
and more than a few with no little technical ability on the photo- 
graphic side. If they could be gathered together under an efficient 
business management, we are convinced that better films could be 
produced without any serious increase in expenditure and better 
profits made. Here is an opportunity for intelligent and enter- 
prising businessmen, especially for those in Bombay, where a busy 
producing industry already exists and is crying aloud for proper 
finance and organisation. A public company the present concerns 
are private ventures formed preferably by a combination of 
existing producers with a Board of Directors which would command 
respect and an adequate capital would, in our judgment, have 
immense possibilities. We picture such a company speedily 
developing its activities, on the same lines as foreign companies 
have developed. It would interest itself not merely in producing, 
but in distributing and exhibiting. The latter functions might 
indeed be undertaken by allied or subsidiary companievS, of which 
the distributing company would no doubt undertake the distribu- 
tion of all kinds of films, foreign as well as Indian, and the 
exhibiting company would aim at forming circuits of cinemas, 
both by arrangement with existing houses and by the erection 
of new ones. Madan Theatres, Limited, in effect already constitute 
one such producing, distributing and exhibiting company, but 
this company developed from the other end, that is to say, the 
exhibition end. Our contemplated new company or companies 
would specialise on production, and would, inter alia, supply that 
healthy competition and diminish the risk of monopoly, to which 
allusion has been made in Chapter II. That a well-organised 
distributing company would supply a sorely needed want is 
admitted by our colleagues, and we do not doubt that they would 
equally welcome another exhibiting company or companies with 
finance sufficient to hire or erect cheap permanent cinemas in the 
many large towns which lack them, and quite possibly to organise, 
once or twice in the week, exhibition in iowns where daily shows 
would not prove remunerative. Even in the United States of 
America, where the cinema habit is so remarkably developed, such 
"partttime" houses are common. 

Quota scheme unnecessary; it would depreciate quality 

of films. 

9. But before we expound further this constructive proposal, 
we must explain why we are compelled to oppose our colleagues' 
"modified quota scheme." At the beginning of this minute we 
gave facts and figures demonstrating how rapidly, despite trade 
depression, the Indian film-producing industry had grown, how 
considerable was the proportion of the available screen time that 
its products occupied, how little handicapped it was by advance 
and block booking, and how demand was in excess of supply. 
We have also demonstrated that if the industry is to advance 


further, it must now concentrate on improving quality. Any 
artificial stimulus to production must infallibly tend to produce 
an exactly contrary effect. Our colleagues say that our fear that 
their quota scheme "will lead to the growth of mushroom concerns 
and the production of inferior films is not a serious one/' because 
the " same fear was invariably mentioned whenever the quota 
system was proposed in any country/ 5 They cite the various 
countries which have adopted such a system, and make special 
play wifli England and Germany. Yet they admit the great 
difference between these countries and India. "In Great Britain," 
they say, " there are not those diversities of tastes nor of predi- 
lections of communities, but here, religions, communities and 
races meet on a common ground and as little as ia possible should 
be done to disturb existing factors.'' Consequently, they propose 
for India a " modified " scheme, which they no doubt consider 
milder than the British scheme. Actually it is much more drastic. 
The British Statute provides an exhibitors' quota beginning at 5 
per cent and rising to a maximum of 20 per cent after 7 years. 
Although Indian productions already occupy more than 20 per 
cent of the available screen time, our colleagues would impose on 
all exhibitors a quota rising 5 per cent every year until each 
theatre devotes 50 per cent of its screen time to indigenous films. 
The British Statute imposes a quota on renters, adjusted so that 
exhibitors may be able to hire a sufficiency of quota films from 
them. Our colleagues make no such provision. Most important 
of all, the British Statute [clause 32 (2)] lays down that where 
compliance with provisions as to quota is not commercially prac- 
ticable by reason of the character or the excessive cost of the 
quota films available, non-compliance with those provisions shall 
be treated as due to reasons beyond the control of the rentor or 
exhibitor. Our Committee unanimously agreed that it would be 
impracticable in India to approve films for quota by a quality 
test, and our colleagues' scheme makes no provision for any price 
test. If they intend that the new committee, which they desire 
to be appointed to elaborate their skeleton scheme, should protect 
exhibitors from undue charges, as the British Statute protects 
them, we are convinced that their scheme will become a dead 
letter if the exhibitors are treated sympathetically, or an instru- 
ment of oppression, if the producers are favoured. But be that 
how it may, the absence of quality test makes assurance doubly 
sure that poor quality quota films will be hastily produced, and 
that the industry will go backwards instead of forwards. Again, 
we repeat that the demand for Indian films is already in excess 
of supply. Increase that demand by legislation, and what can 
possibly result save an increased output of inferior films? This 
happens even under the German ' Kontingent * scheme which our 
colleagues so greatly admire. In a recent article (25th April 1928) 
the 'Pioneer pointed out that the scheme had not worked out for 
the benefit of the German industry, and that cheap German films 


are rushed through simply so that the company may get permis- 
sion to import some star feature from Hollywood. Similarly, the 
Berliner TageUatt of 25th November 1927 wrote: "It is well 
known this practice (i.e., the Kontingent scheme) led to the 
manufacture of the so-called contingent films. " In passing, we 
may note that according to a report from the Commercial Secre- 
tary to His Majesty's Legation at Berlin, forwarded to our Com- 
mittee through the Indian Trade Commissioner, the conversations at 
Geneva regarding the abolition of import and export restrictions 
are likely to result in the abolition of the German licensing system 
for films in the second half of 1929. 

It would seriously harm exhibitors and thus restrict the 
producer's market. 

10. Our colleagues' scheme would thus encourage the produc- 
tion of inferior films, though they agree that improvement of 
quality is of first importance, and would confirm the present 
producers in the very weaknesses which they rightly deplore. If 
these producers gained thereby an immediate financial advantage, 
it could only be a flash in the pan. Inferior Indian films would 
alienate Indian audiences we are agreed that this risk is already 
present exhibitors would lose money, theatres would close down, 
and the existing market for Indian films would be restricted. 
This in turn would react on the producers, and the trade as a 
whole would receive a serious set-back. The plight of exhibitors 
catering mainly for European, Anglo-Indian, and the more 
advanced Indian audiences would be even worse. Our colleagues 
agree that the present quality of the average indigenous film is 
very poor. It cannot be expected to satisfy, still less can it be 
justly imposed on, cultured audiences. Consequently quota films 
when exhibited in this class of house will draw no audiences, and 
prove a dead loss to the exhibitor. A dead loss for 2\ weeks of 
screen time in the year will hardly help an exhibitor; a loss for 
26 weeks when the quota reaches 50 per cent will ruin him utterly. 
The result will be the closing of more theatres, though we are 
unanimously striving after the opening of more theatres. Our 
colleagues somewhat naively remark that " the exhibition side of 
the industry is in the hands of Indians, who have got the same 
national outlook as the producers themselves/ 1 and piously anti- 
cipate that they will willingly co-operate. We are compelled to 
point out that they have shut their eyes to the evidence of every 
exhibitor who was questioned on this very matter, despite the 
facf that this evidence was specially summarised and laid before 
the Committee. Thus Mr. Puri at Lahore said: "I am not in 
favour of a quota. . . . It is a question of bread and butter. If 
I am going to starve, I should not be able to do much for the 
country. " Lala Kishen Chand said: " At Peshawar we cannot do 
without Western films because of the Muslim taste. The majority 



of the audience are Muslims. " Mr. Panchaoli of Karachi said: 
"If we showed only Indian pictures, we could not get any 
audience. I could not show a quota of Indian pictures. My 
cinemas would be empty." The Cinema Trade Association of 
Bombay declared " If Western showing cinemas showed Indian 
films, they would lose their audience/' and gave an example. 
Mr. Eustomji Dorabji of Bombay said " No, it is impossible 
to work it," and explained in somewhat pungent language that 
the habits of the audience, if any, which would come to his cinema 
to see an Indian film were such that they would drive away 
audiences of better class Indians. Mr. Bilimoria, a Director of 
Madans, stated at Bombay: " The indigenous industry is thriving 
and does not require any Government assistance. If a quota is 
imposed, the exhibitor should have his choice between Indian and 
British pictures, because my audience would not like Indian 
pictures." At Calcutta Mr. J. J. Madan, Managing Director of the 
firm bearing his name, strenuously opposed any quota scheme. 
" The whole point," he said, " is that the European and Anglo- 
Indian public will not stand an Indian picture as it is made 
now." Our Chairman then asked " I suppose from national 
interest you will educate them?" The answer was f The only 
way to do that is to improve our standard and not to impose the 
quota system, because the Indian producer will take advantage of 
the quota and make inferior piHures." There speaks the expert, 
but our colleagues ignore him. No single exhibitor would have 
anything to do with the quota, and the only Indian distributor 
io whom it was mentioned, Messrs. Ramachandra & Co., Bombay, 
who distribute the Kohinoor films, said " If a quota is 
imposed Indian films will draw nothing in those theatres where 
they cater for Western tastes, and therefore we (i.e., the distri- 
butors and the producers) will get nothing." 

A practicable scheme not evolved by our colleagues. 

11. The evidence which we have quoted siipports our argument 
through and through that not only is a quota unnecessary, but 
that it would definitely harm the Indian industry in all its 
branches. It is hardly necessary iherefore to criticise further the 
"skeleton scheme" which our colleagues have put forward. It 
is indeed a skeleton, and those who put the bones together, despair- 
ing apparently of their own ability to clothe them with flesh and 
blood, can only suggest that a new committee should be appointed 
"to devise a tolerably workable scheme." We are not surprised 
at our colleagues' failure; from the start we expressed our doubts 
whether any one could produce a workable scheme. But we must 
point out that the scheme gives no adequate indication how or by 
what agencies a very complicated administrative measure is to be 
carried out or financed. To realise how complicated the adminis- 
tration of a quota must be, it is only necessary to refer to the 
English Statute and the regulations framed thereunder, and to study 
the duties imposed on producers, renters and exhibitors on the one 


hand, and on the Board of Trade, the Advisory Committee and 
even the High Court of Judicature on the other. And, be it noted, 
the expenses of the administration are to be wholly borne by the 
trade. Are our colleagues ready to place a similar burden on 
the Indian trade? 

Consider again the position of the travelling cinema under the 
scheme. From 1930 they are to be compelled to show at least 
20 per cent of Indian films wherever they exhibit. Obviously 
they will have to buy outright copies of Indian films. How are 
they to pay for such expensive goods? The mere cost of making 
a print is about Rs. 1,000, and producers will certainly not sell 
prints till the film has been fully exploited in the permanent 
cinemas. And if and when they do sell they will naturally demand 
a profit 011 the transaction. The itinerant exhibitor is a small 
man with small finances, and he will be unable to obtain by hook 
or by crook the necessary quota of Indian films. In other words, 
our colleagues' scheme will drive him out of business, and this 
though elsewhere they emphasise that he should be in every way 

Danger of retaliation. 

12. One final argument against our colleagues' scheme must 
be put. In discussing in Chapter VI the question of Imperial 
Preference for British films in India, we have emphasised the 
danger of estranging' foreign countries, in particular, America. 
"If to-morrow America retaliated by stopping her supplies as she 
threatened to do to Hungary, the (Indian) film trade would cease 
to exist. M If the grant of a modest preference might lead to such 
disastrous retaliation, what is there to prevent the imposition of 
an unnecessary and extravagant quota having a like effect? 

The need for co-ordination of effort. 

13. We will now return to our own proposals. We have pointed 
out that with more efficient organisation and more stable finance 
the Indian producing trade already has great opportunities, and 
we are confident that enterprising businessmen will not be driven 
by our colleagues' counsels of despair to neglect them. The Central 
Cinema Bureau, whose creation we all regard as the keystone of 
our report, will be there to help, inform and advise. Indeed we 
recommend that one of the first duties of the Bureau^ should be to 
strive by all the means in its power to induce the trade to come 
together and to organise itself. Then and then only will finance 
be available on reasonable terms. A strong public company or 
companies such as we contemplate will do more to place the industry 
on a sound basis than all the existing small concerns put together. 
Amalgamation, co-ordination of effort, avoidance of unnecessary 
overhead expenses, these have been the features of the growth of 
the great industry in America. The process is inevitable, and 
has to-day transcended national boundaries. It was, for example, 
American co-operation which saved the great German house, 


tl.F.A., from financial disaster, and the not distant future may 
well witness a film League of Nations, to regulate an art whose 
essence is to be international. If the Indian industry will only 
organise itself, there is no reason why it should not in due course 
take its place in a co-ordinated film world. 

Co-ordination of distribution. 

14. We are looking perhaps too far ahead ; let us consider what 
co-ordination can do in the India of to-day. Take the question of 
distribution. A substantial public company would be a boon to 
producers and exhibitors alike. The exhibitor would have a busi- 
nesslike and centralised agency whence to obtain programmes, 
instead of having to bargain with a number of small producing 
concerns. The producer would be able to concentrate on his 
proper role of production, and would sell the rights of his produc- 
tions to the distributing firm. Before long the distributing 
company or companies would, as has happened in other countries, 
be actually financing the producers, and relieving them of the 
need of obtaining working capital on usurious terms. An expert 
American witness told us that distributing companies in his 
country will advance to approved producers, in return for certain 
rights in the completed film, 25 per cent of the estimated cost of 
production before the shooting begins, and a further 50 per cent 
on the delivery of the negative. For the remaining 25 per cent the 
producer normally has to wait until the profits from the exhibition 
of the picture begin to come in. "There", said the witness, "you 
have the scheme of distribution and co-operation among the 
smaller concerns." He added that there are banks which stand at 
the back of the distributing companies. We do not say that Indian 
banks are likely or would be wise to provide finance in this way, 
but we can see no reason why a successful producer who has 
obtained guarantees from a substantial distributing company, 
should not be able to discount those guarantees with banking or 
financial houses on reasonable terms. The mere saving in interest 
charges will enable him to spend more 011 his productions and thus 
improve them, while the sharing of the risk will prevent an 
occasional failure from crippling him. 

Co-ordination of production. 

15. Take again the question of production. A well-organised 
and substantial public company could regulate its programme so 
as to cut out much of the present wastage of time and -effort. 
Instead of having one studio, it would have several. Instead of 
one director and one or two cameramen, it would have enough 
to direct and shoot several scenes at the same time. Its actors 
and actresses would not waste half their time in waiting for new 
sets to* be erected. Its studios would not all be open to the air, 
so that the monsoon would not stop all work for at least a quarter 
of the year, and they would have artificial lighting to supple- 
ment, correct or cut out the sun. Work would proceed smoothly 


and quickly, and the output would improve both in quality and 

Co-ordination of exhibition. 

16. What co-ordination can do on the exhibition side has been 
amply demonstrated by Madan Theatres, Limited, and the Globe 
Circuit. Circuits enable renters safely to pay royalties for 
expensive films, whether imported or indigenous, and are an 
essential part of a properly organised industry. 

The overseas market. 

17. Our colleagues have said all that need be said of that part 
of the overseas market which is immediately open to Indian films, 
namely, territories such as Ceylon and East Africa where there are 
considerable Indian populations. But they are somewhat doubtful 
whether the larger and more remunerative world market can be 
tapped for many years to come. We agree that the great majority 
of Indian films produced today have no chance whatever of being 
accepted by even a tenth-rate cinema in Europe or America. At 
the same time we are satisfied that Indian films can be produced 
which would attract audiences in foreign countries. There is no 
reason at all why films of universal appeal should not be made 
in India for the international market. They would differ from 
the cheaper films produced specifically for the Indian market, 
because, as we all agree, Western and Indian life and customs, in 
particular the expression of emotions, differ very markedly. The 
production of films for the international market will therefore 
necessitate the co-operation of India and the West. India will 
supply the actors, the scenery and before long most of the technical 
men; the West will supply guidance as to Western tastes. We 
do not mean that no purely Indian film can succeed outside India. 
We believe, for example, that " Sacrifice", the picture which we 
have already mentioned, stands no small chance of winning a place 
011 the screens of Europe although its tragic ending may go 
against it. But that film differed from most Indian films in that 
it had a strong and original plot, was excellently acted, and intelli- 
gently and artistically directed. But until the Indian industry 
has made great strides, no ordinary film will attract non-Indian 

Co-operation betweeri East and West. 

18. We agree, then, with our colleagues when they say that for 
tlie production of films which may appeal to the West "co- 
operation between Western artists and Eastern artists, and West- 
ern and Eastern Businessmen is absolutely necessary/' But we 
differ from them profoundly when in effect they go on to 
lay down conditions which will probably postpone such co-opera- 
tion to the Greek' Kalends. They demand that " the Indian 
interest shall predominate" and that Indians must be predomi- 
nantly responsible for the production in every case. This is 
tantamount to directing the Indian industry to run before it can 
walk, and telling foreign producing interests that they must teach 


the Indian producer how to produce, and yet be subject to the 
predominant control of their pupil. Teachers do not accept pupils 
on such terms. In any case international business can only 
flourish when there is free co-operation between the interested 
parties. We will illustrate what we mean by considering the cases 
of two films definitely intended for the international market. 

The " Liyht of Asia" and " Shiraz" ituticate true method of 


19. The " Light of Asia" was produced mainly with German 
co-operation. We are all agreed that it should have yielded valu- 
able information as to the chances of an Indian subject on 
Western screens. But there were quarrels and mismanagement, 
especially in the marketing of the film, and in England advance 
booking prevented it being rented except after long delays, a fate 
that overtook British films also. A better test case will be available 
for study before long. While this Committee has been sitting, a 
combination of Indian, British and Geiman interests have been en- 
gaged in making in India, for the international market, a film to be 
called " Shiraz." The subject is Indian, the original scenario was 
written by an Indian, the setting is Indian, the actors are Indian, 
the film is being shot in India, and the correct Indian colour is being 
supplied by an Indian, Mr. Hiiminsu Eai. This is the gentleman 
who was intimately concerned with the production of the " Light of 
Asia." A study of his very interesting evidence will siiow that he is 
the real father of the film, that he is acting in it himself, and is 
largely responsible for its direction. It is true that there is no 
Indian capital behind the film, but that is Mr. Rai's misfortune, not 
his fault. He tried to obtain Indian capital, but failed. He was 
more fortunate in Europe, where he was able to find German and 
British film interests to back him. In fact, guarantees, in return 
for territorial rights of exhibition, were obtained exceeding the 
estimated cost of production. In other words, the producers are 
fully insured against financial failure. We do not suggest that 
Mr. Eai, merely on his reputation and by his personal efforts, could 
have raised the finance the reputation and the status of the British 
Company' which undertook the actual production was of course an 
important factor there but we do suggest that had there been a 
reputable film, company with sufficient financial backing in India, 
such a company as we hope to see before long, or even if individual 
Indian financiers or syndicates had elected to back Mr. Rai, a 
substantial portion of the capital, and therefore the control, would 
have been Indian. We entirely disagree with our colleagues' view 
that productions such as " Shiraz" should be discouraged. We 
regard the production as an invaluable experiment. If it succeeds 
it will demonstrate to India that Indian films can be made in India 
for the international market, encourage Indian financiers to put 
money into the industry, and expedite the formation of those public 
film companies which are so essential to the growth of the industry. 
Such companies would in future co-operate with foreign companies 


in producing a limited number of films for the international market ; 
the companies would thus gain valuable trade connections abroad, 
and their staff by their 'association with foreign experts would 
advance rapidly towards technical perfection and keep in touch 
with the latest developments in cinematography. With this added 
experience they could produce cheap but infinitely better films for 
the Indian market. The benefit to the Indian industry, in all its 
branches, would be incalculable. 

Control of non-Indian interests. 

20. We have indicated that foreign" co-operation will not be 
easily obtainable if there are vexatious legal restrictions. At 
the same time we desire, as strongly as our colleagues, that there 
should be no foreign domination, and that truly, Indian com- 
panies should control the Indian industry. Consequently we 
agree that Government should arm themselves with legislative 
powers if, and when, foieign domination becomes imminent or 

We agree also that foreign producers operating in India 
should be registered with the Central Bureau, just as Indian 
producers will be registered, and to prevent the possible 
growth of vesied foreign interests, we think that the licences for 
-foreign producers should be for specific productions or periods. 
Further than that we would not go at present. The Bureau will 
be there to keep in touch with all that is happening, and on the 
Bureau 's advice, Government will be able at any time to step 
in and control developments which might harm the Indian 


21. In conclusion we must emphasise once more that we, 
like our colleagues, wish with all our hearts to see the Indian 
industry flourish and expand. It is only because we consider 
certain proposals made by our colleagues to be positively dan- 
gerous to the industry that we have been compelled to oppose 
them. We believe that the recommendations in which we are 
unanimous, especially the recommendation for the institution of 
a Central Cinema Bureau, and our own suggestions in this 
minute will afford the industry all the assistance which it re- 
quires. If any unforeseen development occurs, or if our antici- 
pations are belied, we shall have no objection to the Bureau 
investigating further the possibilities of a quota scheme, or any 
other scheme for the benefit of the industry. In fact we shall 
welcome such an investigation. But we are confident that if the 
industry, with or without the assistance of the Bureau, will only 
c^anise itself on businesslike lines, it will never look back, and 
that even before the expiry of our colleagues' decade, at least 
50 per cent of India's screen time will be occupied by Indian 






As regards this minute of dissent, without in any way discuss- 
ing or arguing the points therein, as Chairman of the Committee 
I have to state certain facts and incidents so that this minute 
and the report may be duly appreciated. 

1. Immediately after the recording of evidence was over in' 
Delhi in the last week of February, the full Committee met for 
two afternoons on the 24th and 25th, in Mr< Coatman's room in 
the Assembly Chambers, in order to exchange views and impres- 
sions. The decisions reached there then were only provisional 
pending summing up and arrangement of materials so far gathered. 
The discussions were therefore adjourned to April 10th at Ootaca- 

2. At the April meetings the materials collected were consider- 
ed, and the meetings lasted till the 15th. Discussions were resumed 
on the points which arose one after the other and decisions were 
reached. All of them were unanimous except on two points, 
namely, imposition 1 of quota fox Indian films and financial aid to 
Indian productions. On these two points the Committee divided 
thus : three for and two against. Only five members were present 
at the April meetings, Colonel Crawford being unavoidably absent. 
The full Committee meeting was adjourned to May 4th, the interval 
to be used for drafting the report in ten chapters as outlined by 
the Chairman in a brief sketch, the chapters to embody the deci- 
sions reached on the various points under each head. The provi- 
sional decisions, reached in Delhi were also confirmed at the April 
meetings, subject to such alterations as were indicated in the 
decisions then reached. 

3. For the May meetings Chapters I to VIII which had been 
drafted were placed before the Committee. The meetings lasted 
from the 4th to 9th May inclusive. Colonel Crawford and 
Mr. Coatman were present for the first three days and left. 
Sir Ebrahim Haroon Jaffer was absent on these three days and 
rejoined only on the 7th, and continued to be present till the end, 
The rest were present throughout. All the chapters, including 
Chapter IV, were read. Several alterations and additions were 
made in the draft of that chapter also as in other chapters on the 
suggestion of all the members including the signatories to this 
minute of dissent. Without prejudice to their stating their points 
of view separately, if they so chose, all the signatories to this 
minute of dissent were present when contentious, portions of 
Chapter IV were read and they all contributed to the altering and 
phrasing of portions thereof. Mr. Green was present at the read- 
ing of other portions and made valuable suggestions, most of which 
were accepted. I may emphasise that all this was, as stated already, 
without prejudice to their stating their case in their own way if 
they so ohose on portions of Chapter IV. 


4. It is claimed that "the genera^ argument underlying Chap- 
ter IV" follows the general trend of decisions of the Committee in 
February and April, at which both Messrs. Green and Coatman, two 
of the signatories to this minute, were present and took active part. 
In fact all the definite recommendations embody decisions arrived 
at then. The other chapters also turn on the same general 
argument more or less. So far for paragraph 1 of this minute. 

5. As regards paragraph 2, the facts are stated already. At the 
time the decisions were taken it was a majority decision. The fact 
that Colonel Crawford later on agrees with the two dissentients does 
not alter the fact, it is a majority decision though it is a factor to 
be taken into account in weighing the value to be attached to the 
opinions. The Chairman is unable to understand or follow the 
complaint in paragraph 2 herein. Even in a body equally divided 
a majority decision is reached by the Chairman's casting vote 
and that occasion did not arise in this case. 

6. As regards the statements of what are claimed to be facts in 
paragraph 6 regarding " Sacrifice/' it is only right to point out 
there is no evidence so far as the Chairman is able to see for the 
following statements occurring in the paragraph which are based on 
statements made to one or two members of the Committee: "Its 
exhibition in Bombay yielded a 'remarkable financial return'." 
[We have since received figures from Bomlbay which are printed 
as Appendix L (1).] They received a "firm and satisfactory offer 
from the Globe circuit." " But the makers of the film influenced 
partly at least by the encouragement and praise of some members 
of our Committee decided before showing it further in India to 
see whether they could tap the more extensive and remunerative 
markets of Europe." The Chairman had no such information 
given to him. 

7. As regards paragraph 9, it has to be stated the majority 
scheme for quota does contemplate gr.aiit of exemptions* on grounds 
of excessive cost also as in the British Act. They did not exclude 
this ground. 

8. We are differing really on two or three points of. detail, no 
doubt essential in themselves, but really are agreed on the bulk of 
the conclusions and recommendations in Chapter IV as, will be seen 
on a careful reading of the whole report and the minute. 



The number of cinema houses in existence in the different Provinces in eaoh 
year from 1921 to 1927. 

Name of 


Number of cinemas existing 
in each year as reported by 
Provincial Governments 
during the enquiry, 


Number of 
cinemas in 1927 
according to the 
Distribution List. 


9 g 
















55 << " 1 "*"* 

$ fl 





































United Pro- 














20,685,02 1 











Central Pro- 

vinces and 












. . 

Bihar and 












, . 












, , 


Frontier , , 



















" 4 
















Total . . 











In Cantonmen 

$ not inoludec 

in the above Provinces ' . . 


Total . . 


Explanation. Three versions of the 1927 figures are given above. Of these the figures taken 
from the Distribution List (printed in Volume IV of the Evidence) are probably the most nearly 
correct. Apart from permanent cinemas which are open all the year round there are also 
11 seasonal " cinemas (generally in hill stations) which are open for part of the year only, and a 
number of halls where oinemn exhibitions are occasionally given. It is possible that some of the 
last class may have been included in the earlier figures, There are also about 12 privately owned 
regimental cinemas which are not included in the above figures. The Distribution List is a list of 
the cinemas in India, showing the seating accommodation and other particulars, compiled from 
information collected by the Provincial Governments at the request of the Committee, 



Number of cinemas in the Provincial Capitals. 


Area in 

Distribution of 
permanent cinemas. 

In Pro- 

In the rest 
of the 

Bombay . . . . . . . . . . . . 





Bengal . . . . . . . . 

Madras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

United Provinces 
Punjab . . . . . 

Central Provinces and Berar 
Bihar and Orissa 

North-West Frontier 


Cantonment cinemas outside the above provinces. 



Total seating accommodation in permanent cinemas. 

Province. Seating 


Bombay . , . . . . . . 51,941 

Bengal .. . . . . . . 18,110 

Madras . . . . . . . . 42,835 

United Provinces . , . . . . 16,983 

Punjab . . . . . . . . 10,305 

Central Provinces and Berar . . . . 13,026 

Bihar and Orissa . . . . . . 4,830 

Assam . . . . . . . . 817 

North-West Frontier . . . . . . 4,303 

Delhi . . . . . . . . . . 2,400 

Burma . . . . . . . . 48,305 

Cantonment cinemas outside the above pro- 
vinces . . . . . , . . 8,800 

Total . . 222,655 

Explanation* In those oases in which the seating accommodation is not known it has 
been taken as 800 for the purpose ol^the above estimate. 



Number of towns in India with'a population of (1) over 20,000 and 

(2) over 10,000. 

(Figures taken from the 1921 Census Report.) 

Towns in British India (excluding Burma) with a population of 
100,000 or over . . . . . . . . 29 

50,000 to 100,000 . . . . . . . . 43 

20,000 to 50,000 . . . . . . . . 158 

Towns in Burma with a population of 

100,000 or over . . . . . . . . 2 

50,000 to 100,000 . . . . . . . . 1 

20,000 to 50,000 .."".. . . . . 5 

Towns in Indian States with a population of 

100,000 or over .. 4 including 2 with cantonments. 
50,000 to 100,000 . . 10 , 4 
20,000 to 50,000 ..36 2 

Towns in the whole of India with a population of 

10,000 to 20,000 . . . . . . . . 450 

Number of cinemas showing exclusively imported films, 

Number of cinemas which show 
















United Provinces . . 





* 13 

Central Provinces and Bera 



Bihar and Orissa . . 






North- West Frontier 







8 Burmese. 


3 Indian. 

Total . . 




Total . . 


Explanation. Out of 271 cinemas regarding which particulars were available, 64 have 
been reported as exhibiting imported films exclusively- There is no doubt that the 
correct figure is larger. Of the total of 309 cinemas 66 are in cantonments. There are 
several cinemas in each of the big cities which are devoted exclusively to imported films, 
Taking also into account hill stations and cinemas in certain European institutes and 
clubs the number which show imported films exclusively can scarcely be less than 100 



The number of travelling cinemas in the different Provinces. 

Name of Province. 




United Provinces 


Contra! Provinces and Berar 

Bihar and Orissa 


North- West Frontier 




Number of 









tivn. Tlie above figures were supplied by the Provincial Governments 


(except in the case of Ma Iras), 

the matter. The Madras figure 

(vide paragraph 47 of the Report) that the total number of travelling cinemas given 

above is an overestimate, See also Table 7. 

ras), who, at the request of the* Committee, made enquiries into 
the matter. The Madras figure was supplied by the Electrical Inspector. It is believed 


The number of licences issued to travelling cinemas in the 
different Provinces in each year from 1921. 

Number of licences issued to travelling cinemas 

in each year from 1021. 

l^ame of Province. 








Bombav . * 














(Tinted Provinces 








Central Provinces and Berar 










Bihar and Orissa . 













NTorth-West Frontier 



Total . . 








Explanation. The above figures were furnished bv the Provincial Governments and 
relate to the exhibition-licence which (in accordance with section 3 of the Cinematograph 
Act) must be obtained at each place where an exhibition is given by a travelling cinema. 
The figure of tbe licences issued in Burma prior to 1927 is not available. No information 
regarding the number of licences issued in the North- West Frontier Province and Delhi 
was obtainable. It was reported, however, that there were no travelling cinemas in those 
two Provinces. 



Table showing the number and footage of films examined by each Board 
in each year from 1921 onwards. 






































1921-22 . . 











1922-23 . 











1923-24 .. 











1924-25 . , 











1925-26 . . 











1926-27 . . 











1927-28 . . 











up to end of 



1, Explanation. These figures are of oiiginnl certifications : they do not include films 
re-extimined afier having been certified in another province; in other wordtf, the same 
film is not counted twice. There are however a few films which had been certified in one 
province arid were subsequently put up for re-censoring owing to alteration of captions 
Also in the case of Pathd Gazettes one copy of the same film is often censored in Bombay 
and another in Calcutta. There is therefore some duplication here, the amount of whicn 
in the years 1925-26 and 19^6-27 was as follows. From the Bombay footage 30,796 feet 
(in 1925-26) and 62,916 (in 1926-27) are to be deducted as representing duplicates of Pathi^ 
Gazettes which were examined by the Bengal Board also Further, from the Bengal 
footage 32,900 feet (in 1925-26) and 5,600 (in 1926-27) are to be deducted as representing 
duplicates of Path6 Gazettes already examined by the Bengal Board. 

2. The Bombay arid Bengal figures for 1921-22, 1922-23 and 1923-24 are abnormally 
large owing to the fact that when the Act came into force there were a large number o"f 
films in circulation which bore no certificate. These films were put up before the Boards 
for censorship and were given certificates at a nominal charge of Ke. 1, often without 
examination. Enquiries made from the Boards to ascertain how many such films were 
certified yielded the following results : 





Bengal . 









(In subsequent 

K 22-23 




years esti- 





mated at 340 





in all.) 








* These figures are for calendar years, 

In the case of Bombay, and probably Bengal also, the number of such films certified 
in recent years forms only a negligible proportion of the films examined. But in Madras 
the majority of the films ceitified were of this nature In the case of Madras it has been 
possible to deduct these films, and this has been done, as otherwise the Madras figures 
would give a misleading impression of the work of the Madras Board. Another reason 
for abnormal figures in the earlier years is that there were a large number of films in stock 
which had not been certified. The figures supplied by the Burma Board and given above 
exclude those films whic^ were given Be. 1 certificates, and it is understood that tjie 
abnormality in the case of Puima is due to the second reason mentioned, 



Analysis of films examined showing the percentage of Indian footage 
to the total footage examined by the Boards in India (excluding 
Bnrma) in each of the years from 1921 onwards. 

M 03 





ff I 



Number of Indian Kews films 
Number of imported News films . . 
Number of Indian Fe iture films . . 
Number of imported Feature films. 
Total number of Indian films 
Total number of imported films . . 
Total number of films examined . , 
Footage of Indian News films 
Footage of imported News films . . 
Footage of Indian Feature films . . 
Footage of imported Feature films. 
Total footage of Indian films 
Total footage of imported films . . 
Total footage of films examined . . 



63 " 



















1,320 ' 


















3,083,355 | 












4,101,351 J 


Number of Indian News films 
Number of imported News films . 
Number of Indian Feature films . 
Number of imported Feature films 
Total number of Indian films 
Total number of imported films . 
Total number of films examined . 
Footage of Indian News films 
Footage of imported News films . 
Footage of Indian Feature films . 
Footage of imported Feature films 
Total footage of Indian films 
Total footage of imported films 
Total footage of films examined 



63 "I 


















































4,252,402 J 


Number of Indian News films . . 





Number of imported News films. 





Number of Indian Feature films . . 





Number of imported Feature films. 





Total number of Indian films 





Total number of imported films . . 





Total number of films examined . . 





Footage of Indian News films . . 




. 11-06 

Footage of imported News films. 




Footage of Indian Feature films . . 





Footage of imported Feature films. 





Total footage of Indian films 





Total footage of imported films . . 





Total footage of films examined . . 







TABLE $contct. 

Analysis of films examined showing the percentage of Indian footage 
to the total footage examined by the Boards in India (excluding 
Burma) in each of the years from 1921 onwards contd. 







Number of Indian News films 
Number of imported News film* . 
Number of Indian Feature films 
Number of imported Feature films. 
Total number of Indian films 
Total number of imported films . . 
Total number, of films examined . . 
Footage of Indian News films . . 
Footage of imported News films. 
Footage of Indian Feature films . . 
Footage of imported Feature films. 
Total footage of Indian films 
Total footage of imported films . . 
Total footage of films examined . . 



30 ^ 



t , 





















1,204 I 


























4,105,913 J 



Number of Indian News films . 
Number of imported News films. 
Number of Indian Feature films, 
Number of imported Feature films 
Total number of Indian films 
Total number of imported films . 
Total number of films examined . 
Footage of Indian News films . 
Footage of imported News films . 
Footage of Indian Feature films . 
Footage of imported Feature films 
Total footage of Indian films 
Total footage of imported films 
Total footage of films examined . . 



40 1 












. 112 











1,429 ( 



32,382 f 























4,529,716 J 



Number of Indian News films . . 





Number of imported News films , . 




Number of Indian Feature films . . 





Number of imported Feature films. 





Total number of Indian films 





Total number of imported films . . 





Total number of films examined , . 





Footage of Indian News films 




^ 16-26 

Footage of imported News films . . 




Footage of Indian Feature films . . 





Footage of imported Feature films. 





Total footage of Indian films 





Total footage of imported films . . 





Total footage of films examined . . 






TABLE 9contd. 

Analysis of films examined showing the percentage of Indian footage 
to the total footage examined by the Boards in India (excluding 
Burma) in each of the years from 4921 onwards contd. 





Percentage of 
Indian to the 
total footage. 

1937-18 (up to February 29th) 

Number of Indian News films . 





Number of imported News films . 


Not given. 

Number of Indian Feature films . 





Number of imported Feature films 


Not given. 


Total number of Indian films 





Total number of imported films . 





Total number of films examined. 






Footage of Indian News films . 




> 11 v2 

Footage of imported News films . 




Footage of Indian Feature films . 






Footage of imported Feature films 






Total footage of Indian films 





Total footage of imported films . 





Total footage of films examined . 





Note. There is a slight discrepancy in the figures relating to the number and 
footage of imported films examined by the Madras Board for the years 1921-22, 1922-23, 
1924-25 and 1926-27 which could not be adjusted. The figures involved however are 
small, and the discrepancies are not material. 


TABLE 10. 

The percentage of Burmese footage to the total footage exammed*m 





of Burmese 
footage to 



Number of Burmese News films 




Number of Burmese Feature films 




Number of Chinese films 


Number of other imported films 





Total number of films examined 
Footage of Burmese News films 



Aft ftnn 

> 6-82 

Footage of Burmese Feature films 




Footage of Chinese films 
Footage of other imported films 





Total footage of films examined 



Number of Burmese News fi'ins 




Number of Burmese filature films 




Number of Chinese films 


Number of other imported films 




Total number of films examined 


122~23 <; 

Footage of Burmese News films 
Footage of Burmese Feature films 




> 13-68 

Footage of Chinese films 
Footage of other imported films 





Total footage of films exam ined 





Number of Burmese News films 


Number of Burmese Feature films 



Number of Chinese films 

Number of other imported films 
Total number of films examined 




1923-24 < 

Footage of Burmese News films 
Footage of Burmese Feature films 




Footage of Chinese films 
Footage of other imported films 

' 938,769 


Total footage of films examined 




Number of Burmese News films 



Number of Burmese Feature films 



Number of Chinese films 



Number of other imported films 



1924-25 < 

Total number of films examined 
Footage of Burmese News films 



QIAO *7Af\ 

> 45-11 

Footage of Burmese Feature films 



Footage of Chinese films 
Footage of other imported films 
Total footage of films examined 





Number of Burmese News films 




Number of Burmese Feature films 



Number of Chinese films 


-| Ime 

Number of other imported films 



1925-26 < 

Total number of films examined 
Footage of Burmese News films 
Footage of Burmese Feature films 


! 425,600 

> 55*09 

Footage of Chinese films 
Footage of other imported films 




Total footage of films examined 



TABLE' 10 contd. 

The pereentage*of Burmese footage to the total footage "examined in 

Burma contd. 




of Burmese 
footage to 



Number of Burmese News films 





Number of Burmese Featuie films 



Number of Chinese films 




Number of other imported films 



1926-27 < 

Total number of films examined 
Footage of Burmese News films 



r >ri1 1 Oi) 

> 65-02 

Footage of Burmese Feature films 



wu A , Iv'U 

Footage of Chinese films 
Footage of other imported films 




Total footage of films examined 



Number of Burmese News films 



Number of Burmese Feature filmR 




Number of Chinese films 



Number of other imported films 
Total number of films examined 




(11 ^ 

Footage of Burmese New? films 
Footage of Burmese Featuie films 



> 51*56 

Footage of Chinese films 
Footage of other imported films 





Total footage of films examined 


Note. No new Indian films are examined in 
have all been certified in India previously. 

Burma, Those Indian films examined 

TABLE li. 

Percentage of Indian to total footage examined in India. 

excluding Burma, 

1921-22 .. .. 9-57 

1922-23 .. .. 10-31 

1923-24 .. .. 11-06 

1924-25 .. .. 11-83 

1925-26 .. .. 16-05 

1926-27 .. .. .15-26 

1927-28 (11 months) . . 14'92 

Jfote. By including Bnrmu Burmese footage is included as Indian footage. 

including Burma, 



TABLE 12. 

The number, footage, and percentage of Indian feature films examined 
by the Boards (excluding Burma) in each year, with averages. 



1 . 


M I 


A 1 

S ^3 

+-i en 

2 2 


OM eg 

H * 



O ^ 



O *H 



ft ^ 








9 -rj 



"o * 

~O t3 












1921-22 . . 









1922-23 . . 









1923-24 . . 









1924-25 . . 









1925-26 . . 









1926-27 . . 









1927-28 (11 

months) . . 



* 693 






Total . . 










average . . 







* These figures are approximate as the Bengal Board did not give the number of 
imported feature films. 

TABLE 13. 

The annual importation of cinema films into India. 






1927-28 (up to 
29th February 

Bengal . , 

Total . , 

Total value to 
Customs duty 
realized at 15 
per cent 




























Statement showiug separately the importation of raw and exposed 
* films from 1st April 1927 to 29th February 1928. 











Bind .. 










Explanation. The value given above is not the actual value but the valuation for customs 
purposes. Prior to 1922-23 figures of the importation of films were not recorded separately. 
Separate figures of the importation of raw and exposed films were recorded for the first time in 
1927-28. Figures of the quantity of films imported from each country have not been printed, as 
the fact that a film is imported from a particular country is no indication of the country of origin 
(i.e. production) of the film. 


TABLE 14. 

Percentage of British and other non-American footage to total 
imported footage examined by the Boards. 


Total imported footage examined by all Boards . . 
Total American do. do. 


British footage examined by all Boards 
Other do. do. 

Percentage of British to total imported footage 

Percentage of other non- American to total imported 

footage examined 

Pei cent age of American to total imported footage 

1926-27. 1927-28 

(11 months). 

4,149,328 6,218,643,; 4,967,244 
3,227,806 4,159,648 











News and Topical 

Analysis of British footag*. 

1925-26. 1926-27, 1927-28 

(11 months). 

163,781 176,436 241,851 

166,358 212,188 192,336 


310,142 387,624 434,186 

Explanation. -The figures for 1926-26 and 1926-27 have been extracted by us from 
the Boards' lists. The figures for 1927-28 were communicated by the Boards themselves. 

The footage ofjduplicate copies of Pathe's Gazettes examined (vide Explanation in 
Table 8) have been deducted from the British footage for the years 1925-26 and 1926-27 to 
avoid counting the earae film twice. As full information has not been available from 
Borne of the Boards for the year 1927-28 it has not been possible to make this adjustment 
for (that year. The figures for the 11 months of 1927-28 should therefore be reduced by 
an amount which taking the average of the previous two years may be about 66,120. This 
would bring down the 1927-28 figure to 368,066 and the percentage to 7*42. 


TABLE 15. 

The oiitpot of British films and the extent to which they are exhibited 
in India and throughout the Empire. 

(Except where otherwise indicated the figures are those supplied by His Majesty's Trade 7 
Commissioner in India.) 

Output in the "United Kingdom 

No. Footage. 

1924 58 348,000 

1925 34 204,000 

1926 26 156,000 

1927 48 288,000 

1928 (estimated) 85 510,000 

Explanat ion. There is no record of the actual footage. Column 3 shows the footage 
calculated at 6,000 feet per film. All the films mentioned above are feature films. 

Production in other parts (>J the Empire 

New Zealand . . 192T 6 full length films (estimated). 

Australia . . . . 1926 14 full length films. 

South Africa . . 1928 6 fall length films (estimated). 

Explanation. These figures are taken from the statement made in the House of 
Commons on the 22nd March 1927 on behalf of Government. 

Export of exposed film* from the United Kingdom to other parts of 

the Empire. 


1925. 1926. 

British India .. .. 596,686 726,222 

Irish Free State . . . . 3,948,985 1,088,773 

Union of South Africa . . 175,780 100,541 

Australia 1,077,270 1,522,527 

Canada 200,218 169,950 

Other British countries . . 1,857,264 2,010,631 

Total .. 7,856,203 5,618,644 


1926. 1926. 

British countries , . . . 103,237 38,264 

Explanation. The particulars given relate to all films of standard width which have 
undergone a process of manufacture in the country and would apparently include positive 
Alms printed in the United Kingdom whatever the origin of the negative. Figures for 
tjie year 1927 have not yet been published. 


Exhibition of British films throughout the Empire. 

It is estimated that the percentage of the films shown which are of 
British production is as follows : 

United Kingdom . . , . 25 per cent in 1914, 10 pr cent in 1923, 

3 per cent in 1925, 2 per cent in 1926 
and 5 per cent in 1927. 

New Zealand . . . . 10 per cent. 

Australia ....... 8 per cent. 

India ...... 5'9 per cent in 1925-26, 1926-27 and 


Canada, South Africa, etc, . . Proportion very small. 

Explanation. (i) The United States of America offer about 800 feature films per 
annum furnishing 90 per cent or more of the films shown throughout the Empire. A few- 
German and still fewer French films are also exhibited. 

(ii) The Indian figure is the figure obtained by comparing the footage of British 
films examined by the Boards in India with the total footage so examined (after making 
the necessary adjustments in the case of those films which were examined twice). 

The number oj feature films produced in the United Kingdom compared 

with the number of British feature films examined by the 

Boards in India. 

Examined in India. 
Produced in the United / ------- A --- -^ 

Kingdom * 

34 (inJ1925) . . . . 20 * 22 (in 1925-26). 
26 (in 1926) . . , . 27 f 34 (in 1926-27). 
48 (in 1927) .. .. * 27 (in 1927-28). 

Explanation. The figures in column 2 above for 1927-28 have been furnished by the 
Boards. Those for 1926-2ri and 1926-27 have been extracted by us from the lists of films 
examined by the Boards. 

Including two films of 2,000 feet. J Length not known, 

t Includes three films of about 2,600 feel . 

Comparison of footage of films manufactured in the United Kingdom and 
exported to India with the footage of British films examined by the 
Boards in India. 

Exported to India. Examined by the Boards. 

596,686 (1925) .. .. 310,142 (1925-26) 
726,222 (1926) .. .. 387,624 (1926-27) 

Explanation. -The figures in column 1 are those supplied by H. M. Trade' Com- 
missioner ; those in column 2 were extracted by us from the lists of films examined 
by the Boards. The difference between the footage imported and the footage examined 
wou^. be the footage of copies imported, and the above figures indicate that on the 
average two copies of each film are imported. 

"We obtained from the leading importers in India figures of the total footage of 
British films imported by them in each year. According to this information the total 
British footage imported by^ them in 1926 was 604, 761. This approximates very closely 
to the figure of 696, 66 which, according to the United Kingdom records, was the amount 
of British film exported to India in that year. The difference is probably to be accounted 
for by the fact that one of the importers ^supplied figures for the financial year 19?6-26 
instead of the calendar year 1925, 


TABLE 16. 

Table showing work involved in the censoring of films for the year 




Number of hours work required 

of hours 

Number of hours 

of hours 

per annum. 

work per 

work per week. 

work per 



Imported films. 

Imported films 





films, t 




Bombay .. 193-60 








Bengal .. 26- 76 








Madras . . 


, , 



. . 

. . 

Burma . . 


74-56 * 





* It is not possible to differentiate between News and Feature filme. 
f In the case of Burma { Indian films ' means Burmese films. 

JstplanatiM.The above calculation has been made by taking the footage of films 
examined at each of the censoring centres in 1926-27 and reckoning that 4,000 feet are 
examined in one hour, which is the usual rate of progress. Actually the total number 
of hours involved will be slightly larger as, in some cases, a film is examined twice, e.g. 
when after the primary examination it is referred to the Board. Moreover some films 
already certified by other Boards are re-examined. The figures for Madras are based on 
the footage given in Table 8, and should Ibe understood with reference to the Explanation 
attached to that Table. 


TABLE 17. 
Income of the Boards, 1926-27. 


Actual in- 
grant, if 

Examination fees. 


tion fees. 


Imported footage. 

News and 


Burma . . 

All Jndia Total. 



















in column (2) are given the figures of the actual income of each Board (after 
deducting the Government grant, if any) as furnished by the Boards. The income 
of tha Boards is derived mainly from the fees charged for the examination of films, but 
in some cases licencing fees are also credited to the Board. For particulars of the income 
or expenditure of each Board see replies to the questionnaire addressed to the Boards 
printed in Volume IV of the Evidence. The figures in the other columns are an approxi- 
mation obtained by taking the actual footage examined by each Board and estimating the 
fees on the basis of Es. 5 per 1,000 feet. Actually these figures should be slightly larger 
as the full fee of Rs. 6 is paid on odd lengths of less than 1,000 feet. There are also some 
miscellaneous receipts from the issue of duplicate copies, etc. These facts explain the 
difference between the figures in column (2) and those in the last column. In the case of 
Burma the income for the calendar year only was obtainable while the figure in the last 
column relates to the financial year. 

TABLE 18. 

Number and footage of films examined by members of the Boards 
from 1924-25 to 1927-28. 

(The remainder were examined by Inspectors only.) 

Total examined. 

Examined by 

N" umber. 





1924-25 .. 





1925-26 , . 





1926-27 .. 





1927-28 (up to 29th February 1928) . . 






1924-26 .. 





1926-26 .. 





1926-27 .. 





1927-28 (up to 29th February 1928) . . 



- 26 





27-28 J 
24-261 ' 



All films examined by the Board. 

All films examined by Chairman or 


TABLE 19. 

Number of appeals from decisions of the Boards to Provincial Govern* 
ments under section 7 (3) of the Cinematograph Act from 1924-25 
to 1927-28. 


Bombay . . 

Burma . . 

Number of appeals, 

1 in 1925-26 . 

1 in 1927-28 
1 in 1927-28 

1 in 1924-25 


Appeal admitted partially 
and 7 reels were passed. 
The Provincial Govern- 
ment ordered reconsidera- 
tion of the remainder 
which were passed with 


Examined by full Board and 


TABLE 20. 

Certificates suspended by the Boards under section 7 (4) of the 
Cinematograph Act from 1924-25 to 1927-28. 






Number of 
bii spend ed. 







One uncertified. Order of suspension 
^ cancelled in five cases after exci- 
I sions. 

One uncertified, and in three cases 
order of suspension cancelled, in 
one case after excisions. 

> Uncertified. 
V Uncertified. 


TABLB 21. 
Number of films declared uncertified by each Provincial G-overnment 

under sub-sections (6) and (7) of section 7 of the Cinematograph 
Act from 1924-25 to 1927-28. 


United Provinces 

1924-25 . . 

.. 3 


. . 15 

1925-26 . . 

. . 8 


.. 3 

1926-27 . . 




1927-28 . . 

.. 1 


.. 7 


Central Provinces and 


1924-25 . . 



.. 12 

1925-26 . . 



. . 2 

1926-27 . . 

. . Nil. 


. . Nil. 

1927-28 . . 

. . Nil. 


.. 5 


Bihar and Orissa 


.. 2 


. . 19 







1926-27 .. 


1927-28 . . 

.. 2 



Madras ' 




.. 4 

to L. 

. . Nil. 



1927-28 J 






1924-25 . . 



1925-26 . . 

.. 8 


. . 16 

1926-27 . . 

.. 4 



1927-28 . . 

. . 13 


.. 6 

1927-28 . . 

.. 9 

NOTE. A list of the films uncertified, with the reasons and other particulars is 
printed in Volume IV of the Evidence. * 

TABLE 22. 

List of film-producing concerns in India and Burma. 

1. Aryan Cinema Film Company . , Poona. 

2. Excelsior Film Company . . Tardeo, Bombay. 

3. Hindustan Cinema Film Com- 125, Narayan Mansion, 

pany . , . . . . . . Girgaum Back Head, 


4. Imperial Film Company . . Grant Road, Bombay. 

5. Jagtap Pictures Corporation , . Borivli. 

6. Kohinoor Film Company . . Dadar, Bombay. 

7. Orient Pictures Corporation . . Post Box 236, Bombay. 

8. Saraswati Film Company . . . Care of Majestic Cinema, Grir- 

gaum, Bombay. 

9. Saurashtra Films, Limited . . Rajkot. 

10. Sharda Film Company . . Tardco, Bombay. 

11. Shree Krishna Film Company . . Dadar, Bombay. 

12. South India Film Company . . Sholapur. 

13. United Pictures Syndicate . . Kirkee, Poona. 
(1'4. Maharashtra Film Company .. Kolhapur.) 
(15. Lakshmi Pictures Company . . Baroda.) 


16. Aurora Cinema Company . . 41, Kasi Mitter Ghat Street, 

Bagbazaar, Calcutta. 

17. Eastern Film Syndicate'. . .. 14, Jaganath Dutt Street, 


18. Indian Kinema Arts . . . . 87, Dhuramtolla Street, Cal- 


19. Madan Theatres, Limited . . 5, Dhuramtolla Street, Cal- 



No regular film- producing industry. 

Messrs. Venkiah* Brothers, Mount Road, Madras, and Mr. T. H. 
Huffton, 1/71, Swami Naioken Street, Chintadripct, Madras, are shown 
as film-producers, but are not producing now. 


20. The'Punjab Film Company . . The Mall, Lahore. 

21. The New India Film Company . . Empress Road, Lahore. 


22. Great Eastern Film "Corporation, Chandni Chowk (Opposite 

Limited. Imperial Bank), Delhi. 

23. Jagjit|Film Company . . . , Kashmiri Gate, Delhi. 

In the ITnitedlProvinces,* Central Provinces and Berar, Bihar and 
Orissa, Assam and the North* West Frontier Province" there is no film- 


Bwrma (Rangoon). 

1. London Art Photo Company 

2. Burmese Favourite Company 

3. British Burma Film Company. 

4. Star Film Booking Agency 

5. Mahdok Film Company 

6. Chitsaya Film Company 

7. Samuels, Limited 

8. Burma Art Film Company 

9. United Film Company 

10. Burma Photoplays Company 

11. Myomyanma Film Company 

12. Genuine Film Company 

13. Zawtipala Film Company 

14. Aungbisae Film Company 

15. Taing Lon Kyaw Film Company, 

16. Eastern Film Company ' 3 

17. New Burmania Film Company. . 

73, Merchant Street, Rangoon. 
Sule Pagoia Boad, Rangoon. 

56, 39th Street, Rangoon. 
51-A, 37th Street, Rangoon. 
38, Creek Street, Rangoon, 
35, 10th Street, Rangoon. 
56/57, Sule Pagoda Road, 


34/35, 50th Street, Rangoon. 
58, Upper Pazundaung Road, 


34/35, 50th Street, Rangoon. 
274, 39th Street, Rangoon. 
Care of 51-A, 37th Street, 

Care of 51-A, 37th Street, 


57, 39th Street, Rangoon. 
30, Godwin Road, Rangoon, 
25, 43rd Street, Rangoon. 
Caro of 51-A, 37th Street, 




Chairman's opening speech at the first meeting of the Committee 
on ISth October 1927. 

Now that we are about to formally begin our work as a Committee, may 
I take this opportunity of welcoming you and expressing my earnest desire 
for your friendly and hearty co-operation in the execution of the very 
difficult and delicate task that has been entrusted to us by the Government 
of India. Our task is rendered more difficult than it need have been 
by a certain amount of misunderstanding of the scope of the work of this 
Committee as also by an atmosphere of prejudice and unfounded suspicion 
which has been generated by that misunderstanding. You would have 
noticed that in the Press especially in the Anglo-Indian section thereof 
this Committee is referred to as the Film Censorship Committee. This is 
very unfortunate. In view of the recent strenuous movement in Great 
Britain to establish or re-establish the British film industry this name 
given to us has been the cause of some misunderstanding in the Indian 
Press, and statements have been freely made that we are being called on 
to find ways and moans for tightening tho censorship and thereby help tho 
British industry against competitors from elsewhere, notably America. 

Again, you would have noticed that this Committee is believed in some 
quarters to have been called into existence to find ways and means for 
keeping up the White man's and the Policeman's prestige and glamour 
in the eye of the Oriental. Again, this Committee is believed in certain 
quarters to be the indirect means adopted to slyly introduce the most vexed 
question of preference for British Empire goods. I have carefully perused 
tho prior correspondence on the subject between the various Governments. 
Most of it you will yourselves see along with the note that was prepared 
under my direction and is being circulated to you. While it is true that 
private individuals and the Press have now and then made complaints or 
statements under each of those heads, I may assure the public that so far 
as I can judge from their utterances and writings (I cannot divine their 
inner minds if they have any), the Government of India have for their sole 
object in calling this Committee into existence the unbiassed examination 
of the persistent allegations as to laxity of censorship of films and the 
consequent evil effect of certain films upon the public, the finding of steps 
feasible to guide on sound lines the influence of the film, the finding of all 
possible steps to be taken to encourage the growth on proper lines of the 
indigenous film industry, especially in view of the value of the vast mass 
of material afforded by Indian history and Indian literature which should 
appeal to Indian audiences, and incidentally the consideration of the 
resolution of the Imperial Conference in regard to the exhibition within 
the Empire of films produced within the Empire passed on the report of 
the Economic Sub-Committee. 

Now that other portions of the Empire, or rather the British Common- 
wealth of Nations, are busy taking steps for setting their house in order 
in regard to the film industry, the Government of India, I take it 
consider the importance of this opportunity should not be missed for 
placing India on an equal footing as far as 'possible in the matter of the 
material for entertainment and education which the cinematograph pro- 
vides, and it is earnestly to be hoped the public will not miss it either. 
Thus it will be seen that the enquiry we are undertaking is into "the 
him industry in all its aspects including its control by censorship." We 
are the Cinematograph Enquiry Committee and not the Film Censorship 
Committee alone. I have deemed it necessary to make this public utterance 
as 1 am sure all the members of the Committee are anxiously desirous of 
the hearty co-operation and assistance of every section of the public for 
the sound solution of the difficult problems witfc which we are faced Our 
function is to examine the materials placed before us, and to make recom- 
mendations to the Government according to the best of our lights with 
due regard to the interests of India and the interests of India alone It 
is unnecessary for me to emphasise the fact that the scope of our enquiry 


is limited to these questions which I have indicated, and they are contained 
in the Government of India resolution appointing this Commitee. We are 
interpreting those terms in the Questionnaire which is now before you for 
consideration and, after your approval, we will issue it to the public. We 
have no other instructions either jointly or as individuals from the Govern- 
ment or from any high officials of the Government. Our guide is the 
terms of reference as embodied in the resolution. And, let me repeat, we 
are anxiously looking forward to an earnest co-operation from the public. 
Now let us begin our work with love of country and in fear of God, but 
without fear or favour of man, official or non-official, and may God help 
us to come to sound conclusions. 


Circular letter addressed by the Chairman to various prominent 
people, dated 20th October 1927. 

I don't know if this Cinematograph Committee's work interests you 
at all. There are two or three matters which always struck me as important 
in connection with - the film a certain amount of demoralising influence 
had set in among our young folk, 1 thought, in consequence of the cinema, 
arid new methods of committing crimes such as hold-up of trains and 
abductions by motor and other daring feats also followed the cinema. In 
all matters connected with our industrial progress we always begin to cry 
when it is too late that is, after powerful vested interests had established 
themselves and the consequence is we have to struggle against great odds 
in starting Indian concerns. 

The cinema has come to stay and, although it is not a necessity nor a 
key industry, it is bound to spread. The rest of the world is busying 
itself in the matter. Should India alone keep quiet? There is plenty of 
talent among our young men and women. The film offers a good opening 
for educated young people of talent. Censorship is "not unimportant. 
What a huge instrument for mass adult education the cinema affords ! 
You will see from the Questionnaire which accompanies this, a wide field 
has been thrown open for thoughtful suggestions. My fear is our people 
may let this opportunity go by default. I shall be glad if you can take 
some interest and whip up tho forces so that proper material may be 
placed before the Committee, 



(Sec Chapter 1, paragraphs 19 and 20.) 
Indian Cinematograph Committee. 



If you are willing to answer any of the questions kindly send your reply 
as soon as possible to the Secretary, Indian Cinematograph Committee, whose 
address will be c/o Presidency Postmaster, Bombay (up to 18th November) ; 
and thereafter ( c/o Postmaster, General Post Office, Lahore (up to 30th 
November)-, and thereafter c/o Home Detriment, Delhi. 


1. Have you any special knowledge of, or connection with, the Cinemato- 
graph Industry either in India or abroad? If so, what? 


2. (a) in your experience to what extent do Indians (1) of the educated 
classes and (2) of the illiterate classes frequent cinemas? To what extent is 
such attendance on the increase? (Please explain to what place or area your 
answer refers). 

(b) Can you give an idea of the composition of an average cinema 
audience in the locality of which you can speak? 

(c) What proportion of the audience consists of children under 14 or 
adolescents of impressionable age? 


Film Industry in India. 

3. Have you any opinion as to what classes of films are the most popular 
with Indian audiences and generally in .India? 

4. Are the exhibitors catering adequately for Indian audiences? If not, 
what are the reasons? 

5. Are Indian-produced films, depicting Indian life, readily available to 
exhibitors? If so, 

(a) are they of good quality? 

(b) are they popular? 

(c) is it ordinarily less or more profitable to show an Indian than a 

Western film? Can you cite any examples of successful Indian 

0. (a) Do you think that films of Indian life, topical Indian news, and 
scenes (with Indian actors) depicting stories from the national literature, 
history and mythology, would be more popular with Indian audiences than 
the prevalent Western films? 

(b) Of such films, what kind would appeal most strongly 

(1) to the educated classes, 

(2) to the illiterate population? 

7. Is difficulty experienced in obtaining suitable films for exhibition to 
the British and Indian Troops? If so, in what way exactly are the films 
unsuitable? What sort of films are both suitable and popular? 

8. (a) Are you satisfied with the present condition of the Industry in this 
country in its several branches of production, distribution and exhibition? 

(b) If you are not satisfied, what in your opinion are the main difficul- 
ties besetting the Industry and what means would you suggest for assisting 

9. Are good films readily obtainable by exhibitors at reasonable prices? 
If not, is there any special reason for this? 


la there any monopoly or tendency to monopoly of the supply or 
exhibit ion of lilm&P 

10. Do the systems of "block/' and "blind" booking and of "first 
run M 01 " key theatre* " exist in India? 

If so, explain the advantages and disadvantages thereof to the Trade 
and the Public? 

11. Have the exhibitors in this country sufficient facilities for previewing 

Have you any suggestions to make on this matter? 

12. To what extent is the amusement tax (where it exists) a handicap to 
the exhibitor? 

13. How does the present customs tariff on imported films affect the ex- 
hibitors? How far is it useful for promoting the indigenous production of 
films-? What suggestions have you to make regarding the tariff generally 
on all materials connected with the film industry? 

14. Do you consider that an increased use of the cinema for educational 
purposes in schools and for adult education in agriculture, public health, 
etc., by Government or other agencies would help the growth of the film 
industry in this country? 

Is there any demand for buch films? 

15. Are conditions in this country favourable to the development of an 
Indian film-producing industry on a large scale? 

What are the reasons lor your opinion? 

16. Do you consider that there are Indian producers, directors, actors, 
actresses and scenario- writers of sufficient technical knowledge, enterprise. 
resource and adaptability on whom the country can depend for a substantial 
output of films of real competitive exhibition value? 

What measures would you suggest to supply any deficiency? 

17. Do you consider that there are Indian producers, directors, actors, 
coming for film-production? 

18. Do you consider that suitable Government action whether legislative 
or administrative may be an effective incentive and encouragement to 
private enterprise for film production? Can you suggest what suitable action 
can ue taken by Government? 

19. How does the cost of film-production in this country compare with 
that in other countries? 

20. (ci) Do any of your proposals involve expenditure from Government 
lunds? Ji so, do you think that such expenditure is justifiable having 
regard to the other needs of the country? 

(b) Have you any suggestions to make regarding the sources from 
winch such expenditure may be met? 

21. What is your opinion regarding a proposal which has been made 
that to ensure the production and exhibition of films conforming to moral 
standards, to provide a centralised neutral distributing agency and furnish 
a fair market, and to inaugurate the use of teaching and propaganda films 
and genera ly to improve the conditions of the film industry in all its 
aspects, including censorship, a State agency should be created to undertake 
the management of the film industry as a monopoly? 

Films of the British Commonwealth. 

22. Should India participate in the policy outlined in the resolution of 

SSrV llP fi r it Con * e T Ce t0 gi Tl S011 ! e measure of encouragement to British 
Empire films, and it so, would such participation 

(a) assist the development of her own film industry 


(c) improve the standard of Western films shown in India? 

Have you any suggestions as to the methods of putting such a policy 
into practice and the limitations if any? b poncy 


23. (a) To what extent can cinema pictures be used for making known 
the conditions, resources and habits of the peoples, and the activities of the 
various Governments of, the British Commonwealth of Nations to each other? 

(6) What measures would you suggest for getting tho various Govern- 
ments to co-operate to this end? 


Social Aspects and Control. 

24. (a) Do you consider that any class of films exhibited in this country 
has a demoralising or otherwise injurious effect upon the public? 

(b) Is there a general circulation of immoral or criminally suggestive 
films ? 

(c) lii your opinion what class of film is harmful? To whom is it 
harmful? In what way is it harmful? 

((/) Consider specifically whether censorship is adequate in tho cases of 

(1) " Sox " films, 

(2) " Crime " films. 

(c) Do you consider there has been any increase of crime in your 
province due to the cinema? 

( / ) Support your statements, wherever possible, by instances within 
your personal knowledge. 

25. Do you consider that the differences in social customs and outlook 
between the West and the East necessitate special consideration in tho 
censorship of films in this country? 

26. (a) Should more care be taken in censoring films likely to offend 
religious susceptibilities? 

(ft) Can you give an example of any film which has offended the 
religious susceptibilities of any class of the community? 

27. (a) Have any of the films exhibited in India a tendency to mis- 
represent Western civilisation or to lower it in the eyes of Indians? Is it 
a fact that films representing Western life are generally unintelligible to an 
uneducated Indian or are largely misunderstood by him? If so, do undesir- 
able results follow from this? Have you any suggestions to make on this 

(b) Do you know of any films exhibited abroad which have a tendency 
to misrepresent Indian civilisation? If so, were they produced in India? 

28. Has any class of film shown in this country a bad effect on 

(a) children , 

(b) adolescents. 

If so 

(1) what class of film? 

(2) in what way is it harmful? 

29. Are you in favour of certification of certain films as " for adults 

30. Are you in favour of prohibiting all children below a certain age from 
visiting cinemas except for special "Children's performances " ? If so, 
why? What age do you suggest? 

31. (n) Do you consider that censorship is an effective method of guard- 
ing against misuse of the film? 

32. Do you think that the present system of censorship in your province 
is satisfactory? If not, in what way is it defective? Can you suggest any 
improvement ? 

33. Would a strict censorship 

(a) interfere unreasonably w*ith the recreations of the people? 

(b) involve a falling off in the attendance at cinemas? 

(c) unduly interfere with the freedom required for artistic and inspira- 
tional development? 

34. (a) Do you advocate the replacement of the present Provincial Boards 
of Censors by a single Central Board? 

(1) If so, why? 

(2) Would this cause any inconvenience to the trade? 

(3) How should such a Central Board be constituted? 


(4) Where should it be situated? 

(b) Or, would you advocate a Central Board iu addition to the Provin- 
cial Boards? 

(c) If you advocate a Central Board working either alone or with 
Provincial Boards, how would you regulate the relationship between the 
various Boards and the Central and Local Governments? 

(d) How should such a Board or Boards be financed? 

35. (a) Is the present constitution of the Provincial Boards (of which 
at least half the members must, under the law, be non-officials) satisfactory? 

(b) Would you prefer a whole-time experienced well-paid officer as 
censor at each centre, to be assisted by an Advisory Board of non-officials? 

36. (a) Do you think that the present system (prevailing at Bombay 
and Calcutta) under which films are ordinarily examined by inspectors 
.subordinate to the Board is satisfactory? Are such inspectors sufficiently 
well qualified for the work? What sort of qualifications are essential? 

(b) Or do you think that all films should be examined by members of 
the Board? Jf so, do you consider that gentlemen of suitable standing will 
bo available who would be prepared to devote sufficient time to the examina- 
tion of films for a reasonable remuneration? 

37. (a) Are there adequate safeguards under the Act for preventing the 
exhibition of a film which may be objectionable locally although it has been 
passed by a Board in some other part of India? 

(b) Do you consider that any safeguards are needed? 

38. Do you know any instances of films which have been passed by a 
Board of Censors in one province and found objectionable in another 

39. Have you come across any instances of pictures disapproved or banned 
from exhibition in the country of origin or in Great Britain being exhibited 
in India? 

40. Should posters, handbills and advertisements of cinema performances 
also be censored? What measures would you suggest for such censorship 
without undue restriction on freedom? 

Have you noticed any such advertisements which were objectionable? 
In what way were they objectionable? 

41. Have you noticed any improvement in the moral standard of the 
films exhibited in India in recent years? 

42. Have you any suggestions to make for getting the co-operation of 
the trade in the matter of the censorship? 

43. (a) Is there need for a stricter control over the import and export of 

(b) If so, why? 

(c) What methods should be adopted for this purpose? 

44. To what extent could public bodies and the Press assist in maintain- 
ing a good standard of films? 

45. (a) Should some control be exercised by Government over film-produc- 
tion, and if so what should be the nature of such control? 

(b) Should all film-producing agencies be registered and licensed, and 
their studios periodically inspected? 



Questionnaire addressed to the Boards of Censors through the Government 
of India and the Provincial Governments on 5th October 1927. 


1. (a) The names of the present members of the Madras" 


of Film Censors; their professions or occupations; and the body or associa- 
tion (if any) by which they are nominated. 

(b) Name and profession or occupation of the Secretary. 

2. (a) Total receipts and expenditure of the Board for each year since 
its institution. 

(b) Wore such receipts derived entirely from examination fees? 

(c) Amounts of grants (if any) from Government in each year. 

3. The rate of fees or allowances paid to members of the Board for 
attendance at meetings, examination of films or other purposes. 

4. The staff maintained by the Board and their pay and allowances, 
(any special increase or reduction in the last three years should be noted). 

5. A statement of the receipts and expenditure of the Board under 
different heads for each of the years 1924-25, 1925-26 and 1926-27- 

6. (a) The total number of films examined in each year since the institu- 
tion of the Board. 

(b) In each year 

(1) how many were rejected? 

(2) how many were cut? 

7. In each of the last three years (up to 31st March 1927) 

(a) What was the total footage of films examined by the Board 
(including the Board's staff). 

(b) How many films were examined by members of the Board and what 
was the footage so examined? 

8. The number of films examined in each of the last three years which 
had not previously been certified in British India. 

9. In each of the last three years 

(a) How many appeals were preferred under section 7 (3) (a) of the 
Cinematograph Act and with what results? 

(6) How many certificates were suspended under section 7 (4) and what 
were the final orders? 

10. The number of meetings of the Board during each of the last three 

11. In each of the last three years how many films were declared un- 
certified by the local Government under sub-sections 6 and 7 of section 7 of 
the Cinematograph Act. 

Note. The ^replies to this Questionnaire are printed in Volume IV of 
the Evidence recorded by the Committee, 



Questionnaire to producing concerns with covering letter. 
(See Chapter J, paragraph 20.) 


Karachi, tie 22nd November 1927. 


I am desired to request you to be good enough to .supply me, in sealed 
covers, for the use of the Indian Cinematograph Committee, with the 
details regarding your company mentioned in the accompanying statement. 
The information furnished will be treated as strictly confidential for all 
purposes (including incomo-tax) and will be made available only to the 
Chairman and Memlvers of the Committee. 

Yours faithfully, 

Secretary, Indian Cinematograph Committee. 

1. When was your company started? 

2. How many partners are there? 

3. With what capital did you begin? 

4. How much money did you borrow and at what rate of interest? 

5. What is your present capital? 

6. What have been 

(a) your total receipts, and 

(/>) your net receipts, in each year? 

7. How many films have you produced so far? 

8. Please give a list of those films. 

9. When was each exhibited? 

10. What was its length in feet? 

11. How many copies were made? 

12. How long did it run? 

13. Give a list of the members of your establishment, showing the name 
and caste of each, the wages he (or she) receives, and whether he is 
literate (in English and the vernacular). 

14. Give a list of 
(a) the stars, and 

(?>> the scenario-writers, employed by your company, and 
(r) of the story-writers whose stories you have used. 

15. Of your films 

(a) how many have been totally banned, 

(b) how many partially excised, and 

(r) how many allowed with some alteration? 

Note. A. subsequent letter was addressed to the producing concerns 
asking for certain of the above particulars in a simpler form. 



(See Chapter T, paragraph 20.) 


1. Imperial Film Company. 

2. Excelsior Film Company. 

3. Sharda Film Company. 

4. Kohi noor Film Company. 

5. Krishna Film Company. 

6. Kiiienm Arts Studio. 

7. Madan's Studio. 

8. Eastern Film Syndicate. 

9. The British Burma Studio. 

10. The London Art Studio. 

11. Burma National Film Company Studio. 

12. Burma Art Studio. 



Krishna Cinema 


Majestic Cinema 
Universal Picture 


Opera House 
At the Pnthe Office 

At Railway Publicity 


Imperial Cinema 

At Mr. Patel's 

Gaiety Theatre 

Crown Cinema 
Amrit Cinema 

Imperial Bioscope ... 
Cinema de Paris 
Empress Cinema 

Hose Cinema 
Lansdowne Cinema ... 

Prince of Wales 


Elphinstone Picture 


Crown Cinema 
Empire Theatre 
Empress Theatre 
Globe Theatre 







'At the Clang of Fetters" 
'Srco Krishna Rudhama" 
'Tainted Virtue*' 

'Beware of Widows" 

'Sacrifice 1 ' 

! The Nurse" ... 

'Gun Sundari" 

Railway Publicity Films 

''Pleasure Mad" 


Educational films (of Educa- 
tional Pictures Corpn.) 
"Laila Majnun" 

"The Birth of a Nation" 


"Bride No. 13" 


"The man who waited' 1 


"Sati Sardarba" 
"Fast and Furious" 

"Merry Widow" 

"His Majesty the American" 


"Whirled into Happiness" 


"The Triumph of the Rat" 

"The Rat" 

"The Beauty Prize" ... 

"Tunney-Dempsey Boxing 


Indian or Imported. 



Indian * 





Tin ported 










Elphinstone Picture 

At Kinema Arts 

At Madan's Office .. 

Wellington Cinema 



Globe Theatre 
Liberty Cinema 
The Crown Theatre 

Kinema Central 

At Chairman's 
residence ... 

Dagon Theatre 
Raphael's Picture 

Excelsior Cinema 
Klphinstone Cinema 
Star Cinema 
Kinema de Paris 
Globe Cinema 



Klphinstone Bioscope 

Klphinstone Cinema 


Globe Cinema 
The New Theebaw 

Globe Cinema 

Apollo Cinema 

Two Cinemas 

Baldi Picture Palace 

Oraddock Cinema ... 

Klphinstone Picture 


At Maiden's Hotel 

Calcutta cont. 

"The Only Woman" .. 


" Variety" 

Two reels of "Debdas" 

"Bride No. 13" 

"Kiss me Again" 
"Strongman" ... 
"Fire Fighter" 
"The Crook of Dreams" 
"Fighting Marine" 
"Ali Baba and the Forty 
Robbers" ...... 

Congress film 

Hurmose film ... 

4 'A Rich Man's Daughter" 


"Fast and Furious" 
"Kumayana" ... 
"The Nurse" ... 
"The Beauty Prize" 
"Code of the Sea" 
"Jackie Coogan in Trouble" 
"Cow Boy" ...... 


"Tn the Palace of the King" 

"The Barrier" ... 
"Laughing at Danger" 
Chinese film 

Burmese film ... 

Indian or Imported. 




















(No performance) 

(No performance) 

Two Burmese films 


"The Answer of the Sea" 

"Bansari Bala" 



Tata Constructional films 









Five Nights. 
The Scoundrel Monk. 
The Triumph of the Eat. 
A Rich Man's Daughter.) 

. Nos. 4 and 5 had not been banned but at the primary inspection 
been reported to the Hoard for rejection and were sub /uciicf , 


[Vide paragraph 69.] 

Tables prepared by Mr. A. M. Green, I.C.S,, from which the approximate 
imports of (a) exposed and (b) raw films can be deduced for the years 
1922-23 to 1926-27. 

(11 months). 






Censorship figures ' 

Indian footage exa- 








Burrnan footage exa- 








Imported footage 
examined in India. 







Imported footage 

" examined in 








Total imported foot- 

age examined 







Total footnge exa- 








Director-General, Com- 

mercial Intelligence 

and Statistics 

figures - 

Total footage im- 

poried, exposed 

and raw 







Exposed film foot- 

age imported . . 







(I.e., 19 feet 

(Approximate figure obtained by 

to every 10 

multiplying by 1*9 tbe total 

feet of im- 

footage of imported films exa- 

ported film 

mined annually by the censors.) 


by censor.) 

Raw film footage 








Explanation. Cinema films were not separately enumerated in the import returns until 
1922-2o, and no distinction was made between raw and exposed film till 1927-28. Consequently, 
we only have definite figures for the current year. Imported footage must exceed footage exa- 
mined by the censors, because it includes extra copies of films. In 1927-28 19 feet were 
imported for every 10 feet examined by the censors. Applying the same proportion for 
previous years, the above table gives an approximate figure of actual footage of imported exposed 
films, and when deducted from total film imports, approximate figure of raw film imports. The 
figures from 1924-25 to 1926-27 must be reasonable, but the raw film imports for 1922-23 and 
1923-24 show a negative quantity. This is almost certainly because the footage of imported 
films examined by the censors was swollen by films in (he country years before the censorship 
oame into force. Real imports must have been very much less. The above figures can however 
be checked in some measure by the duty figures, and by making an allowance for old films. 

Thus in the basic year 1927-28, for which alone we have complete figures, duty on the eleven 
months' imports of raw film valued atRs. 4,93,238 would at 16 per cent have yielded Rs. 73,986. 
The total duty actually collected on raw and exposed films was actually Rs. 4,01,705. Subtract- 
ing Rs. 73,986 from this sum, we find the duty on exposed films to have been Rs. 3,27,720. The 
rate of duty for the first nine months was Rs. 37-8-0 and the remaining two months Rs. 42-3-0, 
per 1,000 feet, the weighted average being Rs. 38-36. Dividing 3,27,720 by 38-35, we find that 
8,646,602 feet of exposed film paid duty as against 9,382, 686 imported. The balance of 837,183 
feet can only have been imported free of duty on the ground of re-importation. The correct 
footage of new imports is therefore 8,645,502. 

We will now correct the above table by deducting from the imported footage the amount of 
old films, as estimated from returns obtained from the Boards, 

(11 months). 






Censorship figures 

Imported films 








Deduct old films . . 






Xet new imported 

films examined. 


5,140 543 





Director-General, Com- 


mercial Intelligence 


and Statistics 

figures - 

Total footage im- 

ported, exposed 

and raw 

' 19,668,648 






Exposed film im- 

ported . 







(Including re- 



(Approximate figures obtained by 

multiplying total imported 

footage examined bv, 1-9.) 

Haw film imported. 







Tho figures for the four earlier years, however, \vould not yield the duty actually collected. 
Tn all these ye.irs exposed films paid Ky. 37-8-0 per 1,000 it cl, and raw film 16 percent 
ad valorem. In 1927-28, the. average vulu n of raw film was -88 of an anna per foot. Assuming 
the value to have been 1 anna 6 pics in the thr.'e eailier years and slightly over an anna in 
1925-26 (pi-ires, we understand, have in fact been falling), we find thai th<3 following footles 
will approximately yield ihe duty artn.illy collected on films raw and exposed : 

(11 months). 






Exposed film imported, 
in feet 
Duty on exposed films 
Baw film imported, in 
Duty on raw films. IK 














Total import? in feet . . 







Total duty collected 







These figures are only an approximation, but us they agree with the known figures of total 
footage imported and total duty collected, and as the increase in raw film imports follows 
a similar onive of increase to that of Indian film production, they would *eem to be very fairly 
correct. The raw^film figures for 1922-23, possibly those for 1923-24 also, are apparently too 
low, but this would only indicate that the Indian and Burrnan films cansored in those year* 
included a proportion of old films. 

These results are exhibited more concisely in the following table ; 


Table exhibiting the approximate imports of (a) exposed film 
(6) raw film during the past six years. 

1927-28 (full 






year, based on 
eleven months' 


Exposed film 

10,235,656 = in- 



y. 750, 000 




crease over 

1922-23 of 

nearly 61 per 

cent (or exclud- 

ing re-imports 


Raw film 








Explanation. C'neimi iilnr 3 were not t>epaiately enumerated in the Import Trade 
Returns till the year 1922-23, and no distinction was uwie between raw and exposed 
film until the year 1927-28. The gross footage foi the live eailicr years has been HO 
divided between raw and exposed that ii) the import duly on both together will yield 
the duty actually collected, (ii) the imports of law film will increaya in approximate 
proportion to the growth of indigenous production as c\ hired by the censorship figures, 
and (iii) the imports of exposed film will maintain the ratio established in 1V27-28 
between imports and foreign footage examined by the censorship. 

Note. -At the time of printing the lieport some changes were made in the Burma 
figures, on receipt, of f iuthji informatio7i, and also some slight adjustments of (he Madras 
figures. '1 he abo\e calculation H not liowevcr bnbstantiaJly atltcted. 



General Principles. 

1. No generally and rigidly applicable rules of censorship can be laid 

2. It is essential to be consistent but impossible to aim at strictly logical 

3. Each Aim must be judged on its own merits. 

4. Nothing should be approved which in the Inspector's honest opinion 
is calculated to demoralise an audience or any section of it. 

5. The following kinds of films are liable to objection: those which: 

(a) Extenuate crime : or which familiarise young people, with crime 
so as to make them conclude that theft, rohhory and crimes ol' violence 
are normal incidents of ordinary life and not greatly to bo reprobated : or 
which exhibit the actual methods by which thieves carry out their purposes 
and make the methods of crime the chief theme : or in which crime is the 
dominant feature of a serial arid not merely an episode in the story. 

(/>) Undermine the teachings of morality, by showing vice in an 
attractive form even though retribution follow : or casting a halo or glory 
or SUCCPHH round heads of the vicious: or suggesting that a person is morally 
justified In succumbing to temptation in order to escape from bad circum- 
stances or ungenial work: or bringing into contempt the institution of 
marriage : or suggesting abnormal sexual relations : or lowering the 
sacrednoss of the family ties. 

(c) Exhibit indecorous dress or absolute nudity of the living (except 
infants; and small children); or nude statues or figures in suggestive 

(d) Bring into contempt public characters acting as such, e.g., soldiers 
wearing H.M. uniform, Ministers of religion, Ministers of the Crown, 
Ambassadors and official representatives of foreign nations, judges, the police, 
civil servants of Government, etc. 

(e) Are calculated to wound the susceptibilities of foreign nations or 
of members of any religion. 

(/) Are calculated or possibly intended to foment social unrest and 
discontent: (i.e., not scenes merely depicting realistically the hard condi- 
tions under which people live, but depicting the violence that results in an 
actual conflict between Capital and Labour). 

(g) Are calculated to promote disaffection or resistance to Government 
or to promote a breach of law and order. 

6. Inspectors should consider the impression likely to be made on an 
average audience in India, which includes a not inconsiderable proportion 
of illiterate people or those of immature judgment. 

7. Inspectors should remember that a film may be in itself innocent yet 
dangerous because of the bad reputation of the book it reproduces, and 
that a book may be harmless but a film of it dangerous. 

8. Inspectors should distinguish between errors of conduct caused by 
love, even guilty love, and those that result from the pursuit of lust. 

9. Objections to films may bo removed by the Board either (I) by 
modification or removal of titles and sub-titles or of the film narrative or 
description, or (2) by cutting out portions of films, or (3) by both. 

10. Two Inspectors or the Secretary and one inspector should be present 
at the inspection of a film. 


The following is a list of film subjects that are likely to be objectionable : " 

(1) Indecorous, ambiguous and irreverent titles and sub-titles. 

(2) Cruelty to animals. 

(3) The irreverent treatment of sacred subjects. 

(4) Drunken scenes carried to excess. 

(5) Vulgar accessories in the staging. 

(6) The MICH/?/* ope rand i of criminals. 

(7) Cruelty to young infants and excessive cruelty and tortures to 

adults, especially women. 

(8) Unnecessary exhibition of feminine underclothing. 

(9) The exhibition of profuse bleeding. 

(10) Nude figures. 

(11) Offensive vulgarity, and impropriety in conduct and dress. 

(12) Indecorous dancing. 

(13) Excessively passionate love scenes, 

(14) Bathing scenes passing the limits of propriety. 

(15) References to controversial politics. 

(16) Relations of Capital and Labour. 

(17) Scenes tending to disparage public characters and institutions. 

(18) Realistic horrors of warfare. 

(19) Scenes and incidents calculated in time of war to afford informa- 

tion to the enemy. 

(20) Incidents having a tendency to disparage other nations. 

(21) Scenes holding up the King's uniform to contempt or ridicule. 

(22) Subjects dealing with India, in which British or Indian officers 

are soon in an odious light, and otherwise attempting to suggest 
the disloyalty of Native States or bringing into disrepute British 
prestige in the Empire. 

(23) The exploitation of tragic incidents of the war. 

(24) Gruesome murders and strangulation scenes. 

(25) Executions. 

(26) The drug habit, e.g., opium, morphia, cocaine, etc. 

(27) Subjects dealing with u White Slave" traffic. 

(28) Subjects dealing with the premeditated seduction of girls. 

(29) "First Night" scenes. 

(30) Scenes suggestive of immorality. 

(31) Indelicate sexual situations. 

(32) Situations accentuating delicate marital relations. 

(33) Men and women in bed together. 

(34) Illicit sexual relationship. 

(35) Prostitution and procuration. 

(36) Incidents indicating the actual perpetration of criminal assaults 

on women. 

(37) Scenes depicting the effect of venereal diseases, inherited or 


(38) Incidents suggestive of incestuous relations. 

(39) Themes and references relative to "race suicide." 

(40) Confinements. 

(41) Scenes laid in brothels. 

(42) Materialisation of the conventional figure of any founder of religion. 



Note />;/ the Chairman on u Copyright in Cinema films Foreign films 
Piracy in India Prevention Legislative requirements." 

(See Chapter FV, paragraph 185.) 

The law of copyright in British India as codified in the Indian Copyright 
Act ITT of 1914 is for all material purposes the same as that of England, 
being governed substantially by the English Copyright Act of 1911, although 
the Native States in India are apparently not governed either by the 
Indian or English enactment. 

The English Act of 1911 itself in the main reproduces the resolutions 
at the Fnternational Convention held in Berlin in 1908 in respect of 
copyright to which most of the greater powers were parties, the United 
States of America alone not being a party thereto. 

The English Copyright Act of 1911 prim a facie under section 37 comes 
into operation in respect of all British possessions on the dates mentioned 
therein. Under section 37 (2) (d) a* proclamation was made on 31st October 
1912 by the Government of India applying the Act to British India. Power 
is given to the legislatures of non-self-governing possessions to make any 
alterations in the Act and pass supplemental legislation (section 27). The 
self-governing Dominions under section 26 are authorised to repeal previous 
English Copyright statutes which had applied to them and pass their own 
laws. In exercise of the powers granted under section 29 the Indian Copy- 
right Act of 1914 has been passed by the Indian legislature substantially 
adopting the English Act with a few variations. 

Tho self-governing Dominions who by their representative considered 
the mutter at the Colonial Conference in 1910 have all of thorn passed 
enactments, substantially adopting the English Act, the enactments by 
Australia and New Zealand alone enabling registration of copyrights and 
conferring additional safeguards and remedies in respect of inlringements 
of copyright in favour of persons who so register. 

To refer now to the relevant section in so far as cinema film copyright 
is concerned, under section 1 copyright subsists 

(a) in respect of every work published in the British Dominions; 
'(fo) in respect of published works if the author was then a British 
subject or resident in the British Dominions. 

Section 1 (3) defines publication as being confined to the issue of copies 
of the work and not to extend to the "performance of a dramatic work.*' 

Section 1 (2) defines copyright as meaning the solo right to produce or 

reproduce any work or to perform the work in public and 

by (c) in the case of an artistic work to convert into dramatic work by way 
of performance in public or otherwise, by (</) in the case of dramatic work 

to make any record cinematograph film or other contrivance 

by means of which the work may be mechanically performed. 

Section 35 defines 

a dramatic work as " including any cinematograph production where 
the arrangement or acting form or the combination of incidents represented 
give the work an original character" ; 

an artistic work as including photographs; 

performance as meaning any acoustic representation of a work and 
any visual representation of any dramatic action in a work including such 
a representation made by means of any mechanical instrument. 

Section 2 (1) provides that copyright in a work may be infringed by 
any person who does anything the sole right to do which is by the Act 
conferred oh the owner of the copyright. 

Section 5 (1) defines who are the owners of copyright; 

(2) provides for assignment in whole or part generally or subject to 
limitation in England or other British possessions of copyright; 


(3) gives the assignee the same powers as the assignor in respect of 
the right assigned. 

Section 29 enables the privileges and protection of copyright in British 
courts to be extended to foreigners under certain conditions. 

A cinematographic film may be regarded as an original or derivative 
work or as a combination of the two. (Copinger on copyright, page 217.) 

They may be 

(1) photographs of actual incidents in life; 

(2) re-enacting of old scenes and taking photographs thereof; 

(3) dramatising the novel, etc., of another and performing it in front 
of the camera; 

(4) filming a piece as played at a theatre; 

(5) filming a novel or plot newly written. 

The right to make cinema films is a literary copyright appertaining 
to the ownership of copyright in a literary or dramatic work. (Copinger, 
page 218.) 

The right to perform or exhibit the films is appurtenant to any dramatic 
work and is a performing right. (Copinger, page 219.) 

The making of films and the public exhibition of films may themselves 
amount to infringements of some copyright or other in some other persons 
and u producer or manufacturer oi films ior exhibition must either own 
these kinds of copyrights himself, or acquire the same by contract or assign- 
ment. The cinema tilm itselt once made without mi ringing others' rights 
may be treated as an artistic or dramatic work in which copyright is 
clearly recognised by the Act though in different persons for different 

Thus the writer of a plot which is filmed has a copyright in the work 
as a literary or dramatic production to which tho right to make films is 
appurtenant. Section 1, sub-clause (2) (d). 

Likewise tho author of a dramatic work has "performing rights'* as 
appurtenant thereto. Section 1 (2). 

The cinema production if it is not a mere photograph of real incidents 
involves originality in tho arrangement and since it amounts to a dramatic 
work within the meaning of section 35, it is entitled to protection. 

It seems to follow that the Act does recognise copyright in films, though 
various interests therein may bo owned by different persons. 

The International Convention of 1908 by Article 14 protects authors of 
literary, scientific or artistic works by conferring on them tho exclusive right 
of making cinema shows and where the cinema work is itself an original 
creation, " cinematograph productions shall be protected as literary or 
artistic works if by the arrangement of the acting form or the combinations 
of incidents represented the author has given the work a personal and 
original character." "Without prejudice to the rights of the author of 
the original work, the reproduction by cinematography of a literary, 
scientific or artistic work shall be protected as an original work.'* (Copin- 
ger, pages 287 and 410.) 

The Indian Act, the Canadian Act (page 452, Copinger), tho South 
African Act (page 608, Copinger), reproduce the English with few material 
changes. The Australian Act (page 474) and the New Zealand Act (page 485) 
while they recognise the sanu> substantive rights confer ampler remedies 
in cases of infringements of copyrights. 

The United States of America by the amendment of 1912 in their main 
Act of 1909 clearly and definitely recognise rights in "motion picture 
photo plays and motion pictures other than photo plays." (Sections 5 (1) 
(m) 11 and 24. Pages 528, 530 and 535, Copinger.) 

A producer or manufacturer of films, it is therefore correct to say, may 
own or acquire by contract copyrights in the films which are entitled to 
protection under the English Act. The protection is clear as to British 
films* A cinema film as a dramatic work is entitled to copyright. A person 
who performs it without permission infringes the copyright and is liable 
to be proceeded against. For the purposes of considering how far copy, 
rights of foreigners in foreign films such as American films are recognised 
by the English courts, it is necessary now to notice the definition of " pub- 
lication 1 ' in the English Act, since there is no copyright in "unpublished 
works" of foreigners recognised in British Dominions. 



Section 1 (3) thereof following as it does the definition given by the 
International Convention in Article 4 (page 402, Copinger) excludes the 
performance of a dramatic work as constituting publication. A cinema 
film can only be performed but not published. A cinema film is a dramatic 
work. The definition of the word in the American Act (pages 342 and 552, 
Copinger) is not different. How then can a dramatic work be published? 
Copinger says it is done ' ' in the case of a dramatic and musical work by 
printing and publishing the libretto or the score." (Page 278.) 

" Further protection may be gained for a dramatic film by publishing 
simultaneously in Great Britain and America a book or pamphlet containing 
a short description of the film, its plot and the arrangement of the scenes." 
(Page 223.) 

"In order to protect the performing rights the plan is sometimes adopted 
of publishing in book form in England short descriptions of the films and 
the plot represented." (Page 27 , note.) 

Under the Act copyright in unpublished works can exist only if the 
owner of the copyright is a British subject or one resident in British 
Dominions unless, however, protection is afforded by Orders in Council 
passed under section 29. (Page 223.) 

In dealing with this subject of "publication of films" Copinger observes: 
"A great number of American films are exhibited in England and as 
the United States of America is a country with which Great Britain has 
no international arrangement and which has obtained no Order in Council 
under section 29 of the Act, it follows that these films do not become entitled 
to copyright protection under the Act even though their first exhibition 
has taken place in England and the only way in which such copyright 
protection can be obtained is by first publishing them in England in some 
way or another. (Pago 223.) 

But Orders in Council do appear to have been made in respect of tho 
United States of America though with reference only to clauses (6) and (c) 
of section 29. (See pages 439 and 440, Copinger.) 

At page 24, tho effect of this order Copinger states to bo that notwith- 
standing such Order in Council "an American author may lose his 
copyright by fresh publication abroad," the reason being that protection 
has not been extended io clause (a) of section 29, 

The question of " publication " in respect of foreign films is still there- 
fore a matter of material importance. It is tho first publication of the work 
in British Dominions that confers copyright. 

After the abovemontioned Order in Council in favour of an American 
subject, perhaps it may bo contended there is a copyright recognised even 
in respect of unpublished works provided there has been no publication of 
tho same in the United States ot America (pages 24 and 440, Copingor) and 
provided also the copyright rules uuder the American Act have been 
complied with. 

Copyright in films is acquired under the American Law by registration 
and deposit of film copies. (Vide sections 10 and 11 and pages 530 and 560 
for directions and provisions for registration of films.) Where an American 
film proprietor becomes entitled to copyright under the English Act, it can 
be enforceable and recognised for practical purposes only if there has been 
no publication of the story in the United States of America; for if there has 
been publication it becomes a published work and copyright in it can 
subsist under the English Copyright Act only if the work is first published 
in tho British Dominions. 

The American films get protection in an English Court for their copy- 
right under the existing laws by the use "of the device of first publishing 
the work in England in some way or other." This, therefore, is one method 
of obtaining protection available to the owner of a foreign film under the 
English Act. 

In respect of piracy of copyright, the English Act provides the following 
remedies which are available in the case of cinematograph films in England 
and India (under the existing laws) : 

(1) Section 5 confers the powers of granting damages and ordering 
accounts. This is on the footing that the infringement is a violation of a 
civil right and a tort. 


(2) Section 11 makes it a criminal offence to make for sale, hire or 
distribute infringing copies. The Indian Act in section 7 makes similar 
provisions. * 

.(8) Section 14 read with section 6 of the Indian Act enables the customs 
authorities to seize pirated copies at the instance of the persons aggrieved. 
The Canadian and South African Acts confer the same remedies. The 
Australian and New Zealand Acts, sections 16 and 17 (pages 479 and 480), 
provide for additional remedies of a summary character but only in favour 
of persons who register their copyright, which is introduced as an optional 
proceeding in those States. Vide section 26, page 482, and section 38, 
page 584. 

Section 15 imposes penalty on owners of theatres permitting performances 
in theatres infringing the right. 

Section 16 enables a registration authority summarily at the instance of 
an aggrieved party to issue a search warrant and order seizure of pirated 

Section 17 empowers the owner of performing rights to forbid per- 
formance in infringement of his work and the infringer becomes liable to be 
prosecuted. It is a matter for consideration whether similar provisions 
may not be embodied by the Indian Legislature in the law relating to 
copyright or in that relating to films. 

For all ordinary cases of piracy the provisions of the Indian Act appear 
ample and sufficient to protect the owners of films, British and foreign. 

The piracy complained of by the Madan Theatres takes place under 
peculiar circumstances. It is stated that companies like Madan Theatres 
obtain from American companies the exclusive right of exhibition of films 
in particular provinces or in India as a whole. The importer is under 
the terms of his contract with the supplier to get as many positive copies 
of the film as he may require for exploitation. The complaint is that some 
other exhibitor in America who lawfully comes by the films wrongly takes 
duplicate copies of the films while in his possession and sells them to 
persons in India at cheap rates, thereby causing loss to legitimate importers 
from the rightful suppliers who alone it is said own the copyright in the 

The English importers do not apparently suffer from the difficulties of 
the Indian importers. Their position in law, however, is the same as 
that of the Indian importers. No cases have arisen in England in which 
any such position has- been considered. Apart from legislative provisions 
the importers must make suitable provisions in their contracts with their 
suppliers by which the latter must be made to indemnify the former against 
losses caused by the wrongful acts of persons who derived title from them 
originally. The supplier receives money for exclusive rights in which the 
importers are disturbed bv the wrongful act of third persons and so regarded 
it is a case of breach of contract or inability to guarantee rights sold on 
the part of suppliers in respect of which the remedies under the ordinary 
law are open. 

The English Cinematograph Act of 1927 by section 5 imposes the com- 
pulsory registration of films. A similar course may perhaps be adopted 
in this country. One other remedy may be suggested. In granting licenses 
or certificates to individual films for exhibition, necessary rules may be 
framed requiring the applicant to state 
(i) the title of the motion picture; 

{in a description of the work sufficient to identify the same; 

(iii) one or more photographs taken from each scene of the act or 
from sections of the picture; 

(iv) the person from whom the right to exhibit has been obtained and 
the nature of the right. 

Rules (i) to (iii) are requirements for registration of films under the 
American Act, page 561, which confer copyright. Similar conditions with 
the addition of No. (iv) may be required of Indian exhibitors in applying 
for license to exhibit. 

These details ought to be ordinarily sufficient for the licensing authorities 
to find out if any pirated pictures are proposed to be exhibited and to refuse 
license or certificate therefor if it is found that the copy for which license 



to exhibit is asked for is only a pirated copy. Power may by rules also 
be reserved for the authorities to revoke a license granted by mistake or 

misrepresentation. * 

These provisions ought to be sufficient to protect the importers against 
piracy of all kinds. 

There is no special provision in the English Act for piracies of the kind 
complained of by Madan Theatres. 

The American Aet, page 534, provides certain remedies for infringement 
of copyright and there is nothing there particularly applicable to this form 
of piracy. 

In addition to the remedies prescribed by the Act, the following measures 
may be adopted: 

(i) The suitability of applying section's 15, 16 and 17 of the Australian 
Act may be considered but they will not have any special effect in respect 
of foreign films. They are only additional protection against infringement 
of copyright. 

(ii) Registration of films, and rules for requiring applicants to state 
particulars sufficient to detect piracy. 

The safeguard of publication of story is available under the law as it 
stands and requires no legislative change therefor. 

So far as Indian States are concerned: they are not governed either 
by the Indian or the English Act. Nor does it appear to be possible to 
extend the English Act to them by any Order in Council except as a 
foreign State under section 29. Sections 25, 27, and 28 do not refer to 
them. Section 28 refers only to protectorates. Section 37 (a) positively 
excludes all Indian States from the purview of the Act. 

The only way to deal with piracy of films taking place in the Indian 
States would be to proceed under their laws relating to copyrights and 
iilms ii any and if there tiro none the States must he approached to make 
laws affording protection to exhibitors and importers in British India. 

3rd May 1928. T. RANGACHARIAR. 



Sir John Marshall's Utter, dated the 12th April 1928, regarding the 
preparation of archaeological and historical monographs for the 
purpose of film-production. 

(See Chapter VIII, paragraph 276.) 

When I was examined by the Cinematograph Committee I was asked 
by the President to consider whether it would be possible for my depart- 
ment to prepare a series of memoirs on the ancient costumes, arms and 
antiquities of India, which could bo used for the production of historic 
films. I have now had time to examine the proposal and beg to offer the 
following remarks on it: 

It would not be feasible for the Archaeological Department to 
undertake the research work involved in the preparation of the suggested 
monographs, as our staff is already fully occupied with other and more 
pressing duties. On the other hand, it would not l>e economical for us to 
engage an extra staff for this purpose. The best plan in my estimation 
would be for my department to invite outside archaeologists to write the 
proposed memoirs, offering them a lump sum for each memoir and placing 
at their disposal whatever materials and facilities we possess for the 
purpose. The memoirs to be undertaken could be conveniently arranged 
to cover the following periods, viz.: 

(1) The early period (300 B.C. to 1 A.D.) as represented by the 
antiquities of the Early Indian School. 

(2) The period from 1 A.D. to 300 A.D. including 

(a) Indo-Greek Antiquities, 

(b) Muttra Antiquities, 

(c) Amaravati Antiquities. 

(3) The Gupta period from the fourth to tho end of the seventh 
century A.D. 

(4) The Mediaeval period from the eighth to tho twelfth century 

(5) The p re-Mughal period from the twelfth to the sixteenth 
century A.D. 

(6) Tho Mughal period from 1526 onwards. 

Among the subjects with which each memoir would deal in separate 
sections would be architecture, the major and minor arts, furniture, 
conveyances, arms, implements, domestic utensils, costumes and ornaments, 
musical instruments, religious iconography and cult types, customs, 
manners, dancing and posturing, civil and religious ceremonial observances. 
The various sections would be freely illustrated both by photographs and 
drawings. The letter-press would be concise and designed especially to 
meet the needs of film producers with bibliographical references wherever 
necessary, thus enabling the producer to obtain fuller information, if 

I estimate that each of these memoirs would take not less than a year 
to prepare, and I propose that a sum of Us. 8,000 should be offered for 
each. Out of this sum tho writer would be expected to provide for all the 
incidental expenses, including travelling and the services of a draftsman- 
photographer, which would be indispensable in connexion with the illustra- 

In the first place I would recommend that only one memoir, viz.. that 
relating to the early period, should be undertaken on these lines, and that 
we should wait until it is completed before arranging for the remaining 
five, so that we may profit by the experience gained. 

If the Cinema Committee is disposed to accept this scheme, I suggest 
that a sum of Rs. 8,000 should be provided as soon as may be practical 
for the first memoir, further provision for the other memoirs being made 
at a later stage. 

For the publication of the memoirs no special provision will be made, 
as they will be issued by my department. 

My department will be agreeable to supervise the preparation and 
publication of the memoirs. 



lie port from the Director of the Canadian Government Motion Picture 
Bureau regarding the work of the Bureau. 

The Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau, as a branch of the 
Department of Trade and Commerce, was first organized in January 1917, 
for the purpose of augmenting other means for the world-wide dissemination 
of national publicity, the advertisement of the Dominion's resources, attrac- 
tions and opportunities, and the encouragement of tourist and other trade 
and settlement through the medium of motion pictures and other pictorial 
matter, the importance of which, as an agency for this work, was then 
becoming internationally recognized. The Bureau also was established to 
provide a central plant in which all Federal Governmental motion and 
still photographic material could be produced at a considerable saving. 

A small motion picture and photographic production plant was esta- 
blished at the outset, at a cost of roughly $25,000 or $30,000 for equipment, 
in a vacant Government block suitable for the purpose. The staff consisted 
of a director, several executives, a clerical staff and four or five photo- 
graphers and laboratory workers. 

With the growth in the motion picture industry to world-wide 
importance and the consequent growth in its value as a means of popular 
international appeal, education, publicity and advertising, the scope of 
tho Bureau's efforts was steadily extended to keep pace. 

From its small beginning the Bureau has developed steadily in all its 
ramifications until to-day the Canadian Government owns and operates 
what is probably the largest and most modernly equipped governmental 
institution of its kind in the world. The equipment, of the most modern 
type, represents a rough outlay of probably $50,000 or $60,000, not taking 
into consideration the building a governmentally-owned block in which 
it is housed, and it is anticipated that, in the not distant future, a specially 
designed plant, to include all the latest developments in the industry, will 
be erected to take care of the vastly increasing requirements and the 
rapidly extending developments of this field of endeavour. 

The annual expenditures of the Government in this work are at present 
in the neighbourhood of $60,000, this amount including the salaries of some 
twenty experienced and expert executives and technicians employed in the 
Bureau. It is expected that this year the Government will appropriate a 
much Jarger amount for this work owing to the growth of the activities 
of the Bureau and the vastly increased volume of production. 

As against this expenditure, the Bureau has been able, during the past 
four or five years, to secure an annual revenue of approximately $25,000 
through the sale and theatrical circulation of films ana the production of 
other photographic material. Thus the actual cost to the people of Canada 
annually has been not more than approximately $35,000. 

This cost, however, is more than balanced by the enormous saving to 
the Government accomplished through the centralized production of motion 
pictures and other pictorial matter, used by all its departments, in its own 
plant at practically cost, to say nothing of better quality, greater efficiency 
and convenience and the saving of much time. 

Furthermore, the Bureau has been able to obtain, through the medium 
of its pictorial productions, millions and millions of dollars worth of the 
finest type of publicity and advertising throughout the world. 

The Bureau functions as follows: 

(1) As a central plant for the production of moving pictures, still 
photographs, lantern slides, transparencies, and other pictorial matter for 
all departments of the Federal Government and affiliated organizations. 

(2) As the producer and distributor of a series of one and multiple- 
reel films, depicting the resources, life and conditions, basic industries, 
scenic, tourist and other attractions, historical ,and topical events, trade 


and settlement opportunities, and other features, which ate circulated 
widely throughout the world by practically every means and in practically 
every field in which the motion picture is used. 

(3) To encourage and co-operate with private commercial motion 
picture enterprises in producing dramatic and other films within the 
Dominion, depicting Canadian life, scenery and other features. 

(4) To advise and co-operate with all departments of the Federal 
Government in all matters pertaining to photography and photographic 
processes; to co-operate in the production of motion pictures and other 
photographic material of all kinds: to advise and arrange the purchase of 
special motion and still photographic material produced by outside enter- 
prises for Governmental use; to advise and arrange for the purchase of 
photographic equipment. 

(5) To undertake the production of scientific, technical and other 
special types of films and other photographic material required by depart- 
ments of the Federal Government, drafting scenarios, undertaking field 
and studio work, editing, titling, etc.. in this connection. 

(6) To co-operate with the Provincial Governments, the railway and 
steamship lines and other similar organisations in the joint production 
and circulation of publicity, technical, advertising and other types of 
motion and still photographic material designed to encourage general trade, 
travel, and interest in the Dominion. 

In connection with the above, in cases (1), (4), (5) and (6) the Bureau 
operates on a cost repayment basis, i.e., all work performed for depart- 
ments, Provincial Governments and other public organisations is charged 
against them at cost of material and processing, plus living, travelling 
and other necessary expenditure in connection therewith and a small margin 
to cover overhead and depreciation. 

As an example of the saving accomplished to departments and other 
organisations, the case of the production of motion pictures may be cited. 
The usual commercial charges for the production of a negative, its process- 
ing, and the supply of one print to purchaser in Canada ranges from 
$1.00 per foot to $5.00 per foot, depending on the nature of the work 
undertaken. On the cost repayment basis and centralised production 
under which the Bureau operates, this work is done by the Bureau at a 
cost of from between 15 cents to $1.50 per foot. 

It may be of interest in connection with cuse (2) to give some idea of 
what is accomplished. 

In the first place, the films are produced to have popular appeal and 
to contain no direct advertising or propaganda. They are photographed 
by our own staff in the field and made up, titled and processed in our 
own plant and are constructed so that their interest and technical quality 
are comparable in all respects to commercial productions of a like nature. 

The distribution of them is handled, in the theatrical field, through 
commercial distributing concerns on a percentage basis for territorial 
rights or sold outright. At the present time we have secured circulation 
of them through some of the most important theatrical circuits in Canada, 
the United States, Great Britain, Australasia, South Africa, South America, 
France, Holland, the Scandinavian countries, and elsewhere. In all cases 
this distribution is revenue-producing. 

In the non-theatrical field, circulation is achieved through the medium 
of educational institutions, visual education organisations, sporting, travel, 
welfare and other similar organisations, agents of the railways, steamship 
lines, and other organisation, Government trade commissioners, immigra- 
tion agents and other Governmental representatives. This aistribution 
is world-wide in character and, while it is generally necessary for us to 
assume the cost of supplying the films for this circulation and no revenue 
is derived therefrom, it is considered the most valuable circulation from 
an advertising standpoint, since the apeal is to specialised audiences. 

We have at the present time in constant circulation throughout the 
world, in the theatrical field, upward of a million feet of films and, in the 
non-theatrical field, more than two million feet of films. We also take 
advantage of the new developments in the industry the narrow-gauge 
films, 9 mm., 16 mm. and 28 mm., designed for personal use which have 
been showing a most amazing expansion in the past year, by co-operating 
in the production of these types of films with commercial concerns handling 


them, tt is expected that, in the near future, due to the exceptional 
growth of this field, to enter into the active production of at least one type 
of these types of films on our own. 

The staff of the Bureau consists of a Director, who is the chief 
executive; an Assistant, who handles routine matters, correspondence, 
etc.; a clerical staff; a film editor, who directs production work, edits 
and titles film, etc. ; a Laboratory Superintendent, who supervises the 
work in the plant; a staff of cameramen, laboratory workers, artists and 
other technical artisans; a Supervisor, who directs the work of the still 
photographic division; a staff of still photographers and photographic 
workers- and a Stores Clerk and Librarian, who handles the purchase of 
material, the shipping of films, and other related work. 

In addition, the Bureau has a number of correspondents in various 
parts of the country who undertake photographic work in their particular 
territory, on assignment, on a piece-work or footage basis. 

As regards the questions in Captain Poussette's enquiry relative to the 
Bureau, it is difficult to give specific data due to the fact that the Bureau 
has been built up and enlarged both as to production facilities, equipment 
and staff, over a period of years. 

Jt is my opinion that the capital cost of inaugurating an up-to-date 
plant and laboratory to undertake work similar to ours on approximately 
the same scale would be in the neighbourhood of $50,000 without taking 
into consideration the rental or purchase of a building suitable for housing 
such a plant, but including up-to-date motion picture and still photo- 
graphic camera equipment, studio, laboratory and other equipment. 

To operate with the most efficiency, least expense in the long run and 
to maintain the standard of quality that is paramount if good results 
are to be achieved, it seems to me that it would be advisable to erect a 
new plant specially for this work. The cost of such a building or re- 
inforced concrete or some such similar fire-proof material would not, I 
think, exceed $15,000 if done on an economical basis. 

The cost of maintenance, salaries, additional equipment, material and 
general contingencies, in other words, the recurring cost, is governed 
entirely by the scope and extent of activities. This Bureau operates 
annually on an appropriation of between $50,000 and $75,000. 

It is my firm belief that, taking into consideration the revenue derived 
and saving accomplished by a centralised production for all Governmental 
activities of this nature, these savings and revenues will practically equal 
the cost of operation in duo course and that eventually the only debit 
would be the first capital cost. 




Statistical Tables. 

1. Number of cinema-houses in existence in the different provinces in 
each year from 1921 to 1927. 

2. Total seating accommodation in permanent cinemas. 

3. Number of towns with a population of (i) over 20,000 and (it) over 

4. Number of cinemas showing exclusively imported Rims. 

5. Number of travelling cinemas in the different provinces. 

6. Number of licenses issued to travelling cinemas in the different 
provinces in each year from 1921. 

7. Number and footage of films examined by each Board in each year 
from 1921 onwards. 

8. Analysis of the films examined, showing the percentage of Indian 
footage to the total footage examined by the Boards in Incfia (excluding 
Burma) in each of the years from 1921 onwards. 

9. Percentage of Burmese footage to the total footage examined in 

10. Abstract showing percentage of Indian to total footage examined in 
India, including and excluding Burma. 

11. Annual importation of cinema films into India. 

12. Percentage of British and other non-American footage to total 
imported footage examined by the Boards. 

13. Work involved in the censoring of films for the year 1926-27. 

14. Income of the Boards for 1926-27. 

16. Distribution list of cinemas in British India with seating accommoda- 
tion and other particulars. 

Summaries of Evidence, etc. 

1. Production. 

2. Exhibition. 

3. Distribution. 

4. Machinery of censorship. 

5. Entertainment tax. 

6. Travelling cinemas. 

7. Opinions of local Governments and heads of departments regarding 
the use of the cinema for educational and propaganda purposes. 

8. What each province has actually done in using films for educational 
and propaganda purposes. 

9. Children and the cinema. 

10. Madans* alleged monopoly. 

11. Misrepresentation of Indians on the film, 

12. Misrepresentation of Western life on the film. 

13. Opinions regarding the report of the Hygiene Delegation. 

14. Arguments for and against the quota used in the Parliamentary 
debates on the Cinema Bill. 

15. Draft of points for discussion at the report stage 




Statement showing the Box office value in Bombay of three of the 
best non-Indian films and three of the best Indian films in 1927. 

Non-Indian Films 



For Heaven's Sake 

Beau Geste 

Shirin Farhad 

Educated Wife 

. Do. 

First week 
Second week 
Fourth ,, 

First week 
Second week 

First week 
Second week 

Empire Cinema 

Empire Cinema 

Excelsior Cinema 


Indian Films. 

First week 
Second week 

Second week 

Second week 

Imperial Cinema 

Imperial Cinema 

Imperial Cinema 



R8. A. P. 

16,349 12 

12,832 4 

10,267 12 

7,693 4 


12,238 2 

4,433 8 

16,671 10 

9,067 4 

4,114 12 


76,896 10 

9,081 6 


16,429 6 

7,432 4 

6,682 2 

13,114 6 

7,362 2 


12,921 2 

41,464 14 

Cinemas showing 
Western films only 
from 1st January to 
30th June 1927. 


Cinemas showing 
Indian films only 
from 1st January to 
30th June 1927. 


Difference in 
favour of 
Indian films. 

1. Empire Cinema . . 
2. Pathe Cinema . . 
3. Wellington 
Cinema . . . . 

Total . . 

E8. 4. 

88,147 13 
79,429 16 

74,483 6 

1. Imperial Cinema . . 
2. Majestic Cinema . . 
3. Krishna Cinema . . 

Total . . 

as. A. 
1,03,773 14 

&8. A. 

16,626 1 
18,634 1 
7,369 10 

2,42,061 2 

2,83,680 14 

41,619 12 

The above figures, in. statement (2), do not include tickets priced at four annas and 
under, which are not taxable.